(Left to right) – Tracey Slater, Manager of The Co-operative at Stoney Stanton; Carolyn Pascoe, from Menphys; and Carla Fielding, Deputy Manager of The Co-operative.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Customers at the Heart of England Co-operative Society have helped raise £3,000 to help young disabled people increase their chances of employment.

The money has been raised through the sale of 5p single use carrier bags from the Society’s four food stores in Leicestershire, namely The Co-operative in Barwell, Sapcote, Stoney Stanton and Market Bosworth.

It will be put towards rolling out Work Ready Crew, a new partnership between Leicestershire-based disabled children and young persons’ charity Menphys, and one of Leicestershire’s largest employers.

From January this year the first intake of young disabled people aged 16 to 25 started a six-week work placement in Menphys’ partner firm, giving them their first experience in the world of work and increasing their chances of employability.

Disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, and young people with disabilities are at greater risk of coming under the NEET umbrella (Not in Education, Employment or Training) as able-bodied young people.

Although only recently launched already there are 70 young people from Menphys on the waiting list. The charity is looking to use the money to expand the programme among other partner companies to broaden the scheme and cut the waiting time for young people.

Specifically it will be used towards a toolkit for prospective employers – a guide enabling them to successfully run the programmes and to offer advice on providing work placements, ensuring an accessible workplace for people with disabilities and ensuring the placement is of value to the disabled young person and the business alike.

Jessica Buckley, Menphys Work Ready Crew Project Co-ordinator, said: “We are so thankful to the customers of the Heart of England Co-operative Society for helping to raise money to support the Work Ready Crew project.

“The work experience placements offer an excellent platform for young people with disabilities to develop new skills, enhance their CV and increase their employability as they progress to adulthood.”

The money was raised through the sale of 5p single use carrier bags as part of the government scheme launched in October 2015.

Since that time every penny from the sale of single use carrier bags has been distributed among charities chosen by customers and members throughout the Society’s network of stores.

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