Absolute Support (London) help to get adults with learning disabilities into employment
As the election campaigns start to take shape and manifestos are drafted, many fear that Brexit will overshadow other concerns shared by voters across the country. Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University wrote in a recent article for the BBC that ‘Brexit has been far and away voters’ biggest concern throughout the last 12 months’ and that ‘57% named it as the most important issue’, compared to 3% for the issue with the second highest mentions.
One of the key areas that may be overlooked is social care. Many within the sector feel that not enough attention has been paid to the field over recent years, with the government’s 2017 pledge that they would publish a Green Paper on the topic still unfulfilled. Social care can be at risk of being overshadowed by the NHS, which is so often the government’s focus when it comes to winning the healthcare vote. While extra billions being poured into the NHS may satisfy voters, there are areas of social care that may well prove to be far cheaper to fund, and in some cases, actively profitable for the economy.
One way this could be achieved is by helping to get disabled people into work. Recent years has seen a significant step in this direction as employers have become more aware of organisations that help bring those with disabilities into the workplace with the appropriate level of support. National businesses such as Sainsburys have done exactly this, adopting schemes like ‘You Can’, raising the profile of the issue and its solutions.
This is happening on a more local scale too. Absolute Support (London), located in Richmond upon Thames, cites its mission as helping ‘clients to take control of their lives’ and ‘to be as independent as they are able’. Founded four years ago by current Director Margaret Toner, the company aims to present their clients as people with skill-sets that happen to have a disability, rather than for them to be defined by the obstacles they have faced. After realising there were limited options when it came to training her clients, she formed a separate branch of the company to help train those she worked with in health and social care, which has led to direct employment for three of these individuals.
As Toner wrote in her best practice article for The Parliamentary Review, organisations like Absolute Support London allow disabled people to earn an income for themselves while freeing up the time of their carers and family. On a local level this is a big step for the community, but on a national scale this could help to strengthen the economy while providing direction for those who are often overlooked.