Making a difference to the lives of all in our society and especially to those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged remains a firm priority for me.
That was the key message delivered by Health Minister Edwin Poots during a visit to Appleby Trust in Armagh.
The Appleby Trust was formed in 2001 to provide supported employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities throughout Northern Ireland. The Trust focuses on providing a person-centred service to the client which ensures that the client is placed in an employment situation which meets their aspirations.
The Minister said: “The vision set out in the Bamford Review and confirmed in Transforming Your Care was to enable people with a learning disability to lead full and meaningful lives in their communities.
“Today, I have seen a perfect example of this in practice. As we are all well aware the next stage of moving from childhood to adulthood is a particularly difficult time in all our lives. It is a time when people start to take greater responsibility for their future, seek new experiences, address new challenges.
“This time can be even more difficult for people with a learning disability.
“I am delighted to have had this opportunity to meet with clients and staff at the Appleby Trust to see at firsthand how they support people with learning disabilities in obtaining and maintaining a place in a workforce through their various initiatives.”
In the financial year 2012/13 Appleby Trust received £30,000 from the Southern HSC Trust. Following the submission of a business case and discussion with the Acting Director of the Mental Health and Disability Services, this amount has been increased to £50,000 with additional volumes agreed for this financial year. The Appleby Trust has agreed to provide 25 supported work placements and 12 places in Print It!
Print It! also receive funding from the Autism Team in Children and Young People Directorate – this is part of a Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Project.
Appleby Trust provides monthly reports to the Southern HSC Trust to allow monitoring against targets set down in the contract.
Notes to editors:
1. In Armagh and Dungannon, Appleby Trust provides supported employment services with a capacity of twenty five persons with a learning disability who can be supported in employment for a two year period. While not all participants may be able attend for a full five days per week, the supported work placements provided can facilitate 125 days per week.
2. The number of persons who could access the service was increased from 20 to 25 in this financial year at the request of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. Current funding is provided through a service level agreement with the Trust.