#DisabilityWorks: Disabled people can have different outlook at work

Rob McCann, equipment centre co-ordinator, advising a customer on specialist equipment.
Rob McCann, equipment centre co-ordinator, advising a customer on specialist equipment.
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SHEFFIELD ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Steve Hambleton, general manager for The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, knows first-hand that empathy with customers is a clear benefit of employing disabled people.

He said: “My colleague Rob McCann, who works in our equipment shop, developed Stargardt Macular Dystrophy when he was 21. This causes progressive vision loss and he is now registered blind.

“This doesn’t prevent him from being great at his job - he’s highly skilled at showing customers specialist equipment to help them cope with their loss of sight. You can see that they accept his advice more readily.”

Rob said: “I use the fact that I’m registered blind as a positive in this job. I can relate to customers’ problems and, between us, we can work out what’s best for them.

Kyle Crossland, Information Officer, using his desktop magnifier, funded by Access to Work.

Kyle Crossland, Information Officer, using his desktop magnifier, funded by Access to Work.

“As a disabled person, you end up being adept at solving problems. You become versatile and develop skills that you can use in many workplace situations.”

Another employee at SRSB is Kyle Crossland who was born with cataracts and has been registered blind since birth.

Kyle, who has worked for SRSB for six years, said: “Access to Work have supported me with funding for equipment like a CCTV desktop magnifier and a supernova screen magnifier for the computer.

“Without the equipment I couldn’t do my job and I love working here; being in employment gives me self-worth.”

Steve Hambleton giving an interview about the importance of eye health in Sheffield

Steve Hambleton giving an interview about the importance of eye health in Sheffield

SRSB are proud of their approach.

Steve added: “Regardless of any disability, it’s all about the right person for the job.

“It’s true that disabled people often have a different outlook and way of finding solutions to problems. This brings another perspective to the workplace which can often end up becoming the norm.”

n Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind began more than 155 years ago when two local ladies, sisters Anne and Eliza Harrison, became involved.

Leone Green at Little Learners Day Nursery

Leone Green at Little Learners Day Nursery

They were the daughters of local manufacturer Thomas Harrison, who built Weston House, which was later bought by the city for use as the museum and park that we now know as Weston Park Museum. Following the death of Anne, Eliza remembered her sister’s particular interest in, and pity for, the blind.

Eliza lived frugally in order for her to devote her every penny to establishing some permanent benefit for the blind. One year later, she founded the Blind Institution with a small committee of women. The rest is history.

The society celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010 and in 2014 launched a mobile information unit.

Today it has a wide range of services to meet the needs of children and adults of all ages which are delivered primarily in the community, supported by the facilities at its Mappin Street Centre and residential Cairn Home. It supports more than 3,600 visually impaired people in Sheffield while more than 300 people access the Mappin Street Centre each week.

The residential care centre, Cairn Home, accommodates up to 30 people.

A spokesman said: “While we are an independent Sheffield charity, we also work closely with government departments, local authorities, national charities, local charities and support groups to enable blind and partially sighted people in Sheffield to receive the most suitable support.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Deaf Trust helps Leone get work after 20 years

A deaf woman from Rotherham has found work, some 20 years after her last job, thanks to a course at Doncaster Deaf Trust.

Leone Green, aged 40, from Swinton, stopped working when she had children, now aged 16 and 13, and struggled to find a job when she wanted to return to work.

The JobCentre referred her to Specialist Employability Support (SES) at Doncaster Deaf Trust.

During her time there, Leone, who became deaf at the age of two, applied for many jobs in and around the local area. Despite several knockbacks she remained determined to find a job.

The team from Doncaster Deaf Trust kept in touch following her course and alerted her to a vacancy at Little Learners Day Nursery, which is on-site at the Deaf Trust.

Leone said: “I had a very positive interview with communication support from my Doncaster Deaf Trust work coach and was offered the job!

“I am now a member of the domestic team and work every day at the nursery between 5pm and 8pm and I am really enjoying it. I can’t believe that I have finally got a job and it is one that I love.”

Leone is now a valued member of the domestic team and the trust coaches meet regularly with the presentation supervisor to ensure Leone and the team are supported.

Jenny Atkinson, from Doncaster Deaf Trust’s SES team, said: “We are thrilled for Leone that her hard work and determination paid off and that she was able to secure a job.

“We are on hand to offer intervention or communication aid whenever required. Leone continues to meet with the Doncaster Deaf Trust work coaches, to assist her in all areas, for a chat over a coffee.

“Leone is happy and very proud that she is now a working member of society and her employer is extremely pleased with how she has developed and progressed and looks forward to a long and successful relationship.”

The SES programme has been designed to help and support nearly 2,000 disabled people from across the country to achieve their job goals.

Doncaster Deaf Trust is delivering this new contract in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss in Wales and Scotland and Clarion UK in England. It concentrates on those people who need the most support to enter work, or undertake work-related training and activities.

The scheme also forges better links with Work Choice providers as well as specialist voluntary organisations.

n Doncaster Deaf Trust can trace its history back to 1829 when Rev William Carr Fenton set up a school to help young deaf people receive an education to equip them to become self-supporting adults.

It has always believed in the importance of deaf and hearing impaired children and young people receiving specialist intervention to help them achieve their full potential.

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Rosemary blossoms at store

Rosemary Saunders absolutely loves her new career at Waitrose.

After struggling to find her feet in employment, she began working at the Sheffield store a month ago and has blossomed in her new role.

She has already made lots of new friends and says that, for the first time in her life, she is enjoying feeling part of a team.

Rosemary is diagnosed with autism and experiences difficulties with communication, particularly reading non-verbal communication and has a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

However, since Big Ambitions - a Sheffield organisation which specialises in vocational support and employment for people with mental health conditions - stepped in and helped her to devise a personal development plan, she has gone from strength-to-strength.

A spokesman for Big Ambition said: “Rosemary needed support in recognising her skills and which jobs and sectors she could realistically achieve employment in. We began helping her to look at jobs in retail, establishing new options for suitable jobs and supporting her with interview techniques.”

She started the Waitrose job with a job coach present during her shifts.

The spokesman added: “In the last four weeks Rosemary has blossomed in her role and can now independently work on the check-out. The job coach support has been faded from this area of work but will increase again once Rosemary moves on to a new section of the supermarket.

“Rosemary continues to show increased levels of confidence and engagement.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.