Great strides forward have been made since the bad old days of ignorance and prejudice toward disabled people. Yet many with disabilities still face barriers in trying to find work. Both the government and leading charities like Mencap have been keen to encourage more employers to see the benefits in taking on people from this too-often-excluded group.
Some of Britain’s leading social businesses offer a guiding light here, having led the way in creating job and training opportunities for people with disabilities while thriving in their respective trades.
Everyone deserves the chance to earn their money and fulfil their potential
CLARITY Employment for Blind People has a long and impressive history in doing just that. Set up back in 1854, the London-based organisation has hired hundreds of people with disabilities to produce its wide range of high-quality soaps, toiletries and cleaning products. The current workforce is made up of predominantly blind or visually impaired people, but also contains people with hearing loss and other disabilities.
“We absolutely don’t compromise on the quality of the products because of the social mission,” says CEO Jeremy Robinson. “It’s just that the social mission is an additional, positive reason for the consumer to purchase our goods. So it’s the best of both worlds.”
Run as a not-for-profit enterprise, 100% of CLARITY’s revenues are reinvested back into the business so it can provide more empowering opportunities. It currently employs 110 people, 80% of whom are blind, or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged.
“Things have got better in recent years, but there is still a lack of awareness out there about perceived problems in employing people with disabilities,” Robinson explains. “It really doesn’t need to be the case. It’s just about finding the right role for people. Everyone deserves the chance to earn their money and fulfil their potential.”