… when it supports people with disabilities and other barriers on their journey to meaningful paid employment.
Ways into Work is a Social Enterprise that specialises in matching the skills and talents of people with disabilities and other barriers to the business needs of local employers. This means we provide them with the support they need to access sustainable employment; pursuing their dream jobs, increasing independence and responsibility and most importantly, having the same opportunities as everyone around them.
To do this we are launching our very own café, staffed by people with disabilities, near to the Broad Street Mall in Reading, Berkshire. The café will be a trendy yet timeless spot for you to enjoy tasty food and great coffee, all in the knowledge that you are Changing Lives, One Job at a Time.
What benefits will the café bring?
- Paid jobs for people with disabilities
- Development opportunities to upskill people on their journey to sustainable employment
- Showcase how employing people with disabilities can benefit employers
- Challenge perceptions of disability
- Demonstrate real diversity in the workforce
What is the wider impact?
As a Social Enterprise, we re-invest the profit we make back into our social mission – Changing Lives, One Job at a Time. This café will allow us to generate the money needed to support people where the funding has run out and grow our impact.
Over the last 20+ years of supporting people into employment, we’ve found that simply getting a job is only half the battle. As well as the fact that people across all disabilities are about 30% less likely to be employed, without ongoing support, they are 60% more likely to lose their jobs.
Once we have supported someone into work, we promise to support them for as long as they need it. One area that this café will help in is paying for our Keeping in Touch (KIT) team of expert Employment Coaches who provide the vital support needed to keep people in work.
Meet Mairi ...
who was referred to us 5 years ago under a mental health project. We initially supported her to get a cleaning job at her local library. However, when she lost her job due to the Pandemic, we helped Mairi to develop her career aspirations and matched her skills to a new full time kitchen assistant role at a school.
“The support from Ways into Work has helped me enormously as it has given me the self-confidence to work.” – Mairi
This KIT team also supports people like Ian, who works at a garden centre and has a learning disability. We helped him back into work after a long period of illness and to adjust to working at a different location when the garden-centre he was employed at closed.
Ian commented – “I like the continuous support as it assures me that if anything goes wrong, there is someone there to help me understand and sort out the issue.”
You can find out more about the KIT team here.
How you can help
We are working in conjunction with New Directions College to make our café a reality. We have already secured grant funding from Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership to help us fit out the café, but we need your help with our set up costs and to raise awareness of what we are doing – so please share with everyone you know to get the message out there!
We are seeking to raise money to cover set up costs including:
- Lease costs of the building whilst we are kitting it out
- Paying our staff whilst they are training before we open the doors
- Buying our first lots of coffee and other supplies
- Buying crockery and cutlery