My name is Mary Ive, and I am the project leader for an exciting new Social Enterprise in Portsmouth called Inter Activ. I hope you found the video from Steph Callaway our Personal Skills Coach leader a useful introduction to our project.
Enable Ability the charity I work for has been providing services for people with disabilities in Portsmouth and the surrounding area for over 60 years. From the ages of 5 we help people with their personal development, confidence and social skills to allow them to achieve their full potential.... whatever that may be. In my previous role as the Deputy Manager for Adult Services I often saw young people come through our service schemes but once they reached the age of 25 there was nothing left in the system to provide for them. Young adults without disabilities will normally go on to find work or other similar meaningful employment but for many of our 'mild to moderate' service users -those with autism for instance- this becomes the end of the road which is a truly desperate situation for them and is something we really, really want to do something about.
With two teenage sons of my own with special needs I know how this affects families and is why I am so passionate about making a step change in this area.
Two years ago I was asked by the Trustee Board to start to build a business case to understand how we might create a Social Enterprise designed to address this issue by providing a programme of work experience over a long period that would help young people gain the skills and confidence to move into the workplace. I am pleased to say that this past September we commenced our Social Enterprise (called Inter Activ) with 18 young people through support from the National Lottery and some legacy funding we had received. We are working with many local bodies such as Portsmouth City Council, DWP, Job Centre Plus and Portsmouth College to take our first steps. We are based right in the heart of Portsmouth at Landport Community Centre (which we have re-styled as 'Landport Inter Activ').
We have designed four work experience streams that form part of each participants' Personal Employability Programme that are supported by Personal Skills Coaches to help the young people along their chosen paths which are:
- Working in a Café and kitchen
- Running an IT Repair Shop
- Learning rural skills at a local Living Museum
Even the best laid plans find themselves missing a few key essentials and that's where we find ourselves right now. In order to really make this fly we need to invest in some new pieces of equipment for the IT Repair Shop and the Café.
Specifically we are looking to purchase a Degausser for the Repair Shop which will allow the young people to learn how to ensure that any recycled hard disks containing data can be safely and effectively wiped to comply with data privacy laws. Without this key piece of technology the viability of the shop becomes compromised.
For the Café we hadn't realised how old the food preparation equipment (mixers particularly) had become so we want to replace those quickly to allow the participants to be able to use the latest tools to make their learning as effective as possible.
The sum total of our immediate needs are £2,000 but more would help us to be able to expand our available programmes to include horticulture by developing the courtyard next to the centre where we could grow herbs and some vegetables for use in the kitchen and cafe.
We do hope you can see that the lives of many young people and their families will be positively affected by this and your own support to us will make such a difference to them and us.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project and we hope you can see your way to supporting us in any way possible.
on behalf of the Staff and Trustees of Enable Ability and Inter Activ.