DISABLED adults have praised the impact a social enterprise, which provides them with valuable employment skills, has had on their lives.
Saspire, based in Richmond Road, Worthing, enables disabled people to experience life in the workplace and gives them the opportunity to work alongside, and socialise with, their peers.
Operating as the trading arm of SASBAH (Sussex Association of Spina Bifida And Hydrocephalus), the service works with local businesses to provide work for its members.
Bob Mulvey, SASBAH’s business development manager, said: “The importance of it is it gets people out the house and gives them something worthwhile to do. It’s enabled them to socialise with others and they learn job skills. Companies are always very satisfied by the quality of product and the work ethic we foster here.”
Saspire is currently involved in a successful partnership with decorating materials seller Brewers, and Mr Mulvey said it was on the lookout for other local businesses to work with in order to expand the skill set of its members.
Current work includes cutting wallpaper samples to size and correctly labelling it. Sessions run three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) from 10.30am until 4pm.
Any profit that Saspire makes is reinvested into SASBAH.
Martin Aldis, 33, suffers from cerebral palsy and has used the service for about eight months.
He said: “I like the social side of it and doing all the papering. It’s something to get out of the house for. I feel I have gained a lot of skills.
“It’s nice to be asked to do a bit of work.
“It’s boosted my confidence by socialising and getting to chat to a lot of people.”
Lauren Jewitt, a support worker, has been working with the service for nearly a year.
She said: “It’s so rewarding. When they first come here they are extremely shy and nervous, and really lacking in confidence. They all look at it and say ‘I can’t do that’, so we sit down and say ‘of course you can’.
“They have all improved so fast and so much.”
Gemma Mills, 23, suffers from hydrocephalus. She said her favourite part of the service was helping Lauren with labels on the computer. Gemma now helps other members with labelling.
She said: “Helping out others has boosted my confidence and I know they appreciate it.”
Mr Mulvey said the service was keen to increase its number of volunteers, which currently stands at eight.
Since Saspire’s inception, it has worked with 80 disabled people, eight of whom have gone on to find paid work – ranging from the social services, to working in shops and cafés.
Anyone interested in volunteering or working with Saspire should contact Bob by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org