20,000 Hours of Support to Disadvantaged GroupsMember News
Colebridge Works in Partnership with the Private Sector
Colebridge Trust recognised the importance of providing opportunities for marginalised groups back in 2002, when it set-up its first learning disability project Waterloo Woodwork. The team produced planters, bird boxes and benches; whilst also landscaping gardens and erecting fences.
Some years later the woodworking activities were developed into a social enterprise to improve the number of beneficiaries of our good work. Also in reaction to the number of cheap imports sold in garden centres and by other retailers, it was decided to focus on automotive assembly. This was in-part due to the location of the industrial unit and some pre-existing relationships that we had within the industry.
In the last year we have provided 20,000 hours of support to individuals who some might have deemed as furthest from the employment market. Many of these people have gone on to secure long-term employment elsewhere, thanks to improved self-belief and confidence. Each person saves the treasury over £6,000 pounds in annual benefits and related costs. There is also a huge return-on-investment through the health and wellbeing benefits that participants, volunteers and employees experience as part of our team. Better mental and physical health is not a biproduct of our efforts.
We continue to help raise the aspirations of pupils in special schools by providing regular work experience; support young adults through our supported internship programme and have helped those who have felt isolated from wider society. Our inclusive work environment helps to tackle misconceptions about disability and furthermore we ensure that everybody knows that their efforts are valued. What we do really works!
Government funding for our work is limited, indeed in the last financial year we lost all of our grant funding, due to cuts to adult social care budgets. Colebridge worked tirelessly to generate additional income and we have managed to secure some smaller grants and generate new business. We are at a critical time, in terms of funding for the mentoring support that we provide, but there is a change in corporate attitudes. Companies such as Autins and Wago are providing us with assembly work on a regular basis; at commercial rates, which will be the backbone to our future sustainability. Indeed, we are now also looking for corporate social responsibility minded businesses to contribute towards mentoring, care and training costs - a rewarding investment.
For more information, please contact Chet Parmar on 07800 771 651