16 December 2016

Minister for Disabled People visits RBLI

RBLI showcase their work halving the disability employment gap to Minister for Disabled People, Penny Mordaunt MP.

This morning, Penny Mordaunt MP toured RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC), alongside Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch.

BBMC currently employs 110 people across Kent and Surrey – 71% of the staff are either ex-service or have a disability/health condition and BBMC provides them with sustainable employment. Many of those who work there have found it difficult to find employment elsewhere in the past.

Both Penny Mordaunt and Tracey Crouch discussed the success and potential expansion of the charity’s employment support programme LifeWorks. The programme is designed to help ex-service men and women gain employment or move into education or training following their service in the Armed Forces.

An independent evaluation of the programme, which is delivered across the UK, showed that 83% of participants enter employment, education or training within one year; while 80% of those who attend have a health condition or disability.

RBLI now intends to expand the programme outside of the Armed Forces space to help civilians with disabilities and health conditions into work with the aim of halving the disability employment gap.

The tour comes the day after an announcement that RBLI has been selected by the Building Better Opportunities programme, which is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund, to deliver a range of services to help people across Kent and Sussex who have difficulty sustaining employment.

They have also been selected to work with charity SCDA to provide similar services to those with disabilities and health conditions across the region.

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“The number of disabled people in work has increased by almost 600,000 over the past three years. But much more needs to be done to create equal opportunities in the workplace. 

“That’s why schemes like this are so important. We owe our armed forces a huge debt and it’s great to see the work of RBLI supporting them and others to reach their full potential.”

Tracey Crouch said: 

“It makes me proud to represent a constituency where such truly supportive work is being done in support of our veterans. Every time I come to visit RBLI I hear more about the fantastic work they are doing to support people and their plans for the future - it is so inspiring to see a charity with such a drive to expand, and to meet the brave people they support into work. ” 

RBLI’s Chief Executive Steve Sherry CMG OBE said: “Whether it is by directly employing those with disabilities through our social enterprise or supplying them with the help to gain employment through our wide variety of support programmes, RBLI is committed to halving the disability employment gap. We are keen to work more closely with the Department of Work and Pensions to achieve this aim and were delighted to have the great opportunity to showcase our work to Penny and Tracey today.”

For more information about RBLI’s LifeWorks programme, or for any advice regarding employment if you have previously served in the Armed Forces, contact the LifeWorks team on freephone 0800 319 6844, email lifeworks@rbli.co.uk, or visit: wearelifeworks.org.uk

To find out more about Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, or if you are a local business looking to #buysocial and support local disabled people and veterans, visit www.britainsbravestmanufacturing.org.uk