Access to Business, one of our Community Matters partners, have been recognised as a Disability Confident Leader after demonstrating confidence in recruiting, retaining and developing disabled staff.
The charity, based in Wolverhampton, supports local people into employment, self-employment and social enterprises which specialise in supporting disadvantaged people with health problems or disabilities.
Community Matters is part of the nationwide Building Better Opportunities programme, run by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, it aims to support projects tackling the root causes of worklessness, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.
The Heart of England Community Foundation manages the programme across the Black Country which has 16 partners who are all breaking down the barriers to employment in the region.
Josie Kelly, Chief Executive of Access to Business, said:
“We are delighted to be recognised as the Disability Confident Leader!
“After achieving the Disability Confident Employer status a few years ago and the ‘The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services’ in 2017, we believed we could step-up to lead and support local groups and businesses to promote good practise and continuously improve the services for disables people in our communities.
“This is just the start of another fantastic journey for Access to Business and I have been heartened by the commitment and dedication of our staff.”
Someone to benefit from the organisation’s approach is Dalton who, after leading an active life, experienced a stroke.
He first came to Access to Business to develop his IT skills as his stroke had made life extremely challenging. He had set himself a personal goal, to write an autobiography.
Dalton continued to attend courses and the organisation introduced him to ‘Dragon’, voice recognition software used to support clients who struggle to use a keyboard.
At this stage Dalton was also keen on improving his customer service skills and offered his services to the charity’s reception desk where he’s flourished. Access to Business nominated him for National Volunteer’s award in which he reached the final 4 and was invited to an awards ceremony in London.
Since then Dalton has been awarded a “Point of Light Award” from the Prime Minister – recognising his valuable contribution to volunteering, has continued to devote his time to numerous projects and has made excellent progress in his autobiography. He’s reached an agreement with a publisher!
Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said:
“This is what Community Matters is about! It is brilliant to hear stories about participants really getting something out of the programme.
“Access to Business do amazing work and it is great to see that they, and Dalton, have been recognised for their levels of commitment. And I can not wait to read Dalton’s autobiography!”