Ministerial Visit 29th July 2014
Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper, MP visits The Lennox Partnership
The recently appointed Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper, MP visited The Lennox Partnerships (TLP) offices in Clydebank on Tuesday the 29th of July to hear about the Community Support Fund programme that TLP are delivering on behalf of DWP Office of Disability Issues to support the people who had been affected by the closure of the Remploy factory in Clydebank.
The Minister spent the first part of his visit hearing about the various welfare to work initiatives being delivered by The Lennox Partnership, and was particularly interested in the DWP programmes such as the Work Programme, Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements.
It was pleasing for the Minister to hear how TLP, as a small not for profit social enterprise had benefited from their involvement in the Work Programme, working as a supply chain partner of the prime contractor in Scotland, Working Links. He was encouraged to hear that the financial model developed by Working Links specifically for their smaller partners was working extremely well, and that over the past three years of delivering the contract, TLP had achieved significant results in terms of the number of customers supported into sustainable jobs. This success was recognised by Working Links with the presentation to The Lennox Partnership of SEVEN consecutive Supply Chain Partner of the Month awards in 2013/14, relating to the competition covering the three Working Links CPA’s of Scotland, Wales and the South West of England.
As the main focus of the Minister’s visit was to find out what TLP had been doing for the Remploy workers who had been made redundant, a full update on the progress of the 23 participants was provided, which showed a total of 10 had been assisted into work, 7 had completed work placements with reputable organisations such as Marks and Spencer, 2 were currently involved in volunteering and 1 was studying Medical Administration at college.
A small group of the former Remploy workers, consisting of some who were working, and others who were still being supported met with the Minister, giving him an opportunity to find out about their background with Remploy, the roles they had in the factory and their length of service.
Although some of the group at this stage had not been successful in securing a job they felt that they had greatly benefited from participating on the CSF programme which provided them with a range of training opportunities, work experience placements, and significant financial planning support.
The Lennox Partnership will continue to work with the group to support those who are still out of the labour market, as well as supporting those who have secured employment to help them progress with their existing employer, or to secure alternative employment to match their work ambitions.
Blyth Deans, Chief Executive of TLP said “The Ministerial visit provided a great opportunity for us to let the newly appointed Minister of State for Disabled People know what we were doing in Scotland to support people with disabilities, and to highlight the successes we had achieved already within our Community Support Fund project in Clydebank”