BBC’s Panorama Reports
Only half of all people with a disability are in work. The government’s most ambitious welfare reforms, costing billions of pounds and aiming to solve the problem of disability unemployment is failing to work. The programme revealed the private companies who are getting rich from the new reforms despite only being able to get a small fraction of disabled people back to work. The programme also spoke to the charities who feel the most vulnerable in our society are being failed.
It is those furthest from the labour market, the very people that the Work Programme has been set up to help, who are losing out. The programme showed that it is those with disabilities, whether a mental health condition, physical or other disability that are losing out on support as they are seemingly too difficult and complicated to help.
So, what does work?
Justlife has a weekly work club and additional support to help people move towards employment, and in the last year we have worked with 56 people, helping 12 into employment. This week alone 3 of our clients have secured job interviews. Many of the people that we work with would be classed as far from the labour market, those with disabilities and difficult to engage with, but we have successfully worked with them to move them into employment.
Our approach is to treat everyone with dignity and respect, to take time and tailor our support to individuals, to meet with people on a one2one basis as well as in a group setting and to inspire people and build confidence and hope. We work alongside other jobclubs and employability support, including Business Action on Homelessness to open opportunities up to those far from the labour market get into work.
Other Jobclubs around Manchester, including those run by the Oasis Centre, Mustard Tree and Levenshulme Inspire simlarly help difficult to reach people and are playing a vital role in underpinning the Work Programme but with little funding. Justlife has secured funding from the European Social Fund to help people move towards employment, but our costs per head are a fraction of the multi-billion-pound work programme and only allows us to provide limited support.
As Justlife continues to support the most vulnerable on the front line, we are recording and documenting stories and statistics that feed into strategic decision makers. Our experience and expertise can make a difference.