On 4th May, our Richmond transition services hosted an employability event called Branching Out, aimed at promoting awareness and building momentum around disability employment.

The event was organised in partnership with Toucan employment and Roots & Shoots, and with over 250 visitors, it’s fair to say it was a brilliant example of partnership working in action!

Making new connections

It started off nicely with people quickly taking part in the stalls, making new connections and socialising with old friends. United Response’s mocktails stall was an instant hit, with service manager Emer Morris mixing up delicious concoctions to keep everyone refreshed. United Response’s Postcards from the Edges gave people the chance to test out their artistic skills whilst offering a great insight into what employment means to individuals and why it is so important for the employment gap to be closed.

Adam Sutherland, United Response transitions manager, explained why this event was so important. "Branching Out is all about raising the profile of employment for people with disabilities. So just bringing some enthusiasm about gaining employment, getting employment skills and just trying to make sure that people with disabilities have a fair shot at gaining employment."

Drama and music

The Baked Bean Company demonstrated how they can support people to find employment in a light hearted and entertaining drama performance. This was followed by a range of expert speakers who covered all aspects of the employment experience. One of the highlights of the day was a peaceful and engaging interactive music session run by Daniel Ross. The music session was a huge success and taught everyone involved to be aware of everything that’s going on around them, and to work together to achieve goals. Once the participants had a bit of practice they were ready to put what they had learnt to the test, and they did, by giving the rest of the event a mini performance.

We asked Andre, a student from the Autism Project, what he liked about the event. "My favourite thing is the music and drumming. I also enjoy socialising with all the young people and speaking to people at their stalls."

An excellent day for all

By now the BBQ was in full swing, so with everyone’s appetites met, it was time to watch United Response’s very own comedy duo Matt and Kayleigh share the story of how Kayleigh landed her dream job. As always, they provided entertainment as well as insight into a truly inspirational employment journey, topping off an excellent day for all.