Getting work can be a hard job, especially if you need to overcome disabling barriers or job scarcity. In Colwyn Bay, people with learning disabilities who use Livability’s day services are proving that everyone has something to contribute, if they are given the chance – and their work is helping to build a more connected community.
Run as part of Livability Conwy’s range of services in the area, the day services are run locally from a site on Builder Street. The manager – Iris Barlow – has championed supporting the people who use the service to find employment: ‘We work hard to enable people to increase their independence, and that includes people’s desire to work.’
Iris contacted the local paper, the North Wales Pioneer, to find out about any job opportunities: ‘We ran some delivery rounds for them many years ago and had always had a very good relationship with the office.’ As a result of Iris’ initiative, the Pioneer took on five paid workers from Livability, who sort and deliver the paper to local people.
So efficient is the Livability team that when the Pioneer’s distribution rep Steve Bridge had to reduce some delivery rounds, he was determined to keep the workers. ‘Everyone does an excellent job and I fought for them to keep those rounds,’ he says. Steve’s decision was also motivated by a desire to make employment inclusive: ‘I know how difficult changing routines can be for people with some disabilities, and it would have been a major upset to lose this work.’
The local Livability squad have also found a further way to serve the community. Over at the local hospital, the volunteer-run café offers snacks and a hot cuppa to visitors – made possible by a team from Livability, who are on duty four times a week.
‘People from Livability open up the café, set everything up and count the money,’ says Iris. ‘The team is brilliant and visitors absolutely love them. Their skills grow and grow as they learn new tasks. Work gives all of us purpose and this is certainly true for our people.’
Iris is hopeful that more cafe shifts will be offered to the people that use the services. ‘I see how much people who come to the café, and our people who serve, get out of this and that’s why I take the time to make this happen. It’s my passion.’
For more information about Livability Conwy’s services visit our Services Finder.
Photo credit – With thanks to the North Wales Pioneer.