ON THE GROUND: Papworth Trust Progression Service

Scheme: The progression service is one of five areas covered by the Papworth Trust, a disability charity operating in eastern England.

Funding: The Papworth Trust receives £7 million a year with the majority of funding coming from contracts with social services, Job Centre Plus and the Housing Corporation. An additional £300,000 is raised through individuals and trusts.

Objectives: To give disabled people the opportunity to live an independent life and provide support to allow them to fulfil their goals.

The arts and crafts centre in the Cambridgeshire village of Papworth Everard is full of garden furniture and gifts. But a closer look at a wooden folding barbecue trolley reveals that the wheels are recycled from a wheelchair. In fact the range is made by people with physical and learning disabilities.

Behind the scenes at the centre, one group is putting together a calendar using digital photographs while another is making a set of gift boxes.

In the gift and tea shop, Mr Jones, most of the staff are on work placement for an NVQ level 2 in shop retail.

Around 80 people use the residential progression service in the village, which offers creative arts, NVQ training, numeracy and literacy skills, volunteer placements, drama and gardening.

Students on the NVQs in retail and business administration spend two hours a week in small class groups and, depending on their health, they could work up to two days a week in a voluntary-work placement giving them their first taste of the business world. The business administration students can undertake placements in the village library or further afield in Cambridge and Huntingdon.

One service-user has secured an unpaid administrative post at Radio Cambridge after completing his NVQ Level 2, while another is working in the office at the local school.

A housing department is there to support those who wish to move out of 24-hour care into their own homes, and the trust is itself a provider of residential care and supported housing. The trust also offers an advice service to give disabled people the chance to be more independent at home or at work.

Originally set up in 1917 to provide a holistic approach to treating tuberuclosis in the village, the trust started to offer care to people with congenital and acquired disabilities in the 1940s when tuberuclosis was brought under control.

In 1997, the charity shifted its focus again from being a village group to a community-based provider for eastern England with centres in Cambridge, Basildon, Ipswich and Papworth Everard.

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