On Thursday 22nd March, Richard Harrington MP invited Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, to visit Watford Workshop.
Established for over 50 years, Watford Workshop is a charity that provides Work Experience, Skills Training and Employment for people of working age with physical, mental and sensory disabilities and/or learning difficulties.
Watford Workshop helps around 60 disabled service users each year to achieve greater independence, become more integrated into the community and where possible move them on to mainstream employment. It does so through Health and Community Services and Work Choice.
The Minister visited so that she could see first-hand experience how Watford Workshop provides a fulfilling professional life to so many people in Watford. After touring the Workshop and talking to many of the employees, staff and volunteers, the Minister for Disabled People, Heath and Work, Sarah Newton, said:
“It was great to see the work of the Watford Workshop first hand, and to meet those who are supporting disabled people into employment and building their confidence.
“We want to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027, and initiatives like this are vital in driving this change.”
Mr Harrington and the Minister also discussed how he is promoting the Government’s Disability Confident campaign in Watford, which helps employers open up their workforce to disabled people.
Over 7 million people (17.5%) of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition. Disability Confident is about getting employers to think differently about disability and to take action to improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.
The MP for Watford welcomes the fact that over 30 local companies have signed up, to the scheme including Warner Bros, AP Security and Sigma Pharmaceuticals.
Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, said:
“I am very pleased to welcome the Minister to Watford to see the great work Watford Workshop does. Watford Workshop has transformed so many lives by helping disabled people to increase their self-confidence and lead better lives by gaining employment. They do so much for our local community and that’ why I’m very proud to be their patron.
It’s really important that we break down the barriers to employment for disabled people, and that’s why I’m promoting the Disability Confident campaign locally.”
Linda McIntyre, CEO of the Watford Workshop, stated “the discussions with the Minister has given us a real sense of confidence for the future. Ms Newton’s commitment to a replacement when the Workchoice Programme ends is fantastic news to us and our service users."