Run by leading national learning disability charity, Hft – formerly known as the Home Farm Trust – the Bradford Supported Employment programme works with more than 35 employers in the local area to offer supported employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities.
Currently, only around 12 per cent of people with learning disabilities are in employment (Source: ONS*) – 32 per cent of people supported by Hft have paid or voluntary employment.
So far, the Bradford Supported Employment programme has helped more than 100 people to find employment. Roles range from working in restaurants, to hotels, shops and nursing homes, as well as administration and kitchen work.
The scheme supports people with learning disabilities with specific training and assistance with applications and interview skills, as well as visiting potential workplaces to ensure the roles are suitable.
The Princess attended a lunchtime reception at the YMCA Culture Fusion Centre, meeting employers who have employed people with learning disabilities through the scheme and members of Hft staff. She also met with people with learning disabilities who’ve benefited from the programme and their families, who spoke about the benefits of supported employment. Local businesses who’ve signed up to the scheme also came along to the event, as well as employers wanting to find out more about employing people with learning disabilities.
Local dignitaries, including the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Bradford District Metropolitan Council and the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, were also in attendance, along with Hft’s Chair of Trustees and Chief Executive, Professor David Croisdale-Appleby and Robert Longley-Cook.
Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, OBE, Hft’s Chairman, said: “The Princess Royal has been a dedicated Royal Patron to Hft for more than 30 years and we are extremely grateful for her generous support. We are delighted that she has visited Hft Bradford today and we hope her visit will bring this worthwhile initiative to more people’s attention.”
Robert Longley-Cook, Chief Executive of Hft, commented: “The supported employment project in Bradford is just one example of how Hft supports people with learning disabilities to gain independence and achieve an ambition that many hold; to find a job. We hope many more employers in Bradford will sign-up to the scheme so we can support even more people with learning disabilities to find employment.”