Approximately 27% of people with sight loss are in employment (nationally). In Croydon, only 15% are employed – we need to act fast.
Simply being employed brings its own gifts. Financial independence, a sense of purpose, further training and socialising all come with having a job, career or even a voluntary role. That’s why we place such importance on supporting our blind and visually impaired members in the workplace.
To date, 14 working age members have gained employment – join us to transform more lives.
The Working Age Project
This dynamic arm of our organisation has three clear goals:
- Building confidence.
- Upskilling (Tech & living aids).
- Route to employment or volunteering.
We work in collaboration with other organisations, so our three employment advisers have a wealth of contacts, experience and expertise:
Odette Battarel – Our Community Dynamo
Michael Spooner – A Blind Entrepreneur
Education Employment Trust – Local Partnership
How it works
We’ve developed a range of services and activities to help our members find a route into both volunteering and paid employment. Together they can make a real difference to an individual’s sense of self-worth and employability.
To build confidence we offer:
- Bespoke personal development plans
- Route to Work or Volunteering
- Confidence-building activities
- One-to-one support sessions
- Team-building exercises
Practical assistance comes in the form of:
- CV support and workshops
- Interview workshops
- The Admin Hub (where our members can get real life experience in an office environment)
- Access to Work support
Making connections is encouraged through:
- Motivational speakers and peer support
- Networking events
- Social groups and outings
Unlocking Our Members’ Potential
We have the expertise to help blind and partially sighted people get into the workplace, but it’s the confidence they build through socialising together and – perhaps most importantly – getting outside their comfort zones that makes the biggest difference.
The group regularly participates in various trips. These have recently included visiting local parks and cafés, a London Eye & River Cruise trip, climbing Mount Snowdon, visiting wine bars, going to Combe Lodge, a trip to Box Park and an excursion to the Sight Village exhibition in Birmingham.
Long Term Connections
Our Working Age Project Group enjoys a weekly meet-up and opportunities to socialise. As part of this we run a lively book club, a board games club and we host a regular quiz. Each of these activities exists to facilitate team building, encouraging the group to build close bonds.
As part of the project, the group also visits national organisations such as Thomas Pocklington Trust and RNIB. There they can network with people experiencing similar sight loss journeys.
The camaraderie of the entire group has noticeably improved since the project was set up; it’s also growing in strength and number as we work together and we’re excited to see our efforts translate into employment for those involved.