With research published by the Learning Disability Alliance this week highlighting employment as a key area where more needs to be done to support people with learning disabilities, United Response’s political correspondent David Allkins has hit the streets to find out what the people of Newquay in Cornwall think about the right of disabled people to be in work.

In his report, David also interviews Dave Fry, who has worked as part of the reception team at United Response for 15 years and who originally found paid employment through United Response’s supported employment services

The benefits of inclusive employment

Lindsey Simmonds, Dave’s manager at United Response, tells us her experiences of working with Dave:

"As Dave's line manager, I think he has some valuable skills that are a great asset to the team. For instance, his punctuality is outstanding, he is always welcoming to visitors to the building and he takes pride in keeping the reception area spotless.

"Since working with Dave, I have seen his confidence grow, enabling him to learn to tackle some new tasks, which help encourage his personal development. This is not always without its challenges, but by working together as a team to develop a system that is helpful to Dave, he can then actively complete the task.

"Having a permanent job gives Dave financial independence - such as being able to move into his own flat – and the freedom to do things he enjoys in his spare time, such as travelling. He also has an extended social life with colleagues – Dave is great at rounding up the team for post-work coffee and cake!

"As his colleague, I have witnessed first-hand the enjoyment and benefits of employing someone with a learning disability. With my previous background being in the corporate working world, I had had no experience of working with anyone with a learning disability – let alone line-managing someone – before I came to United Response. I hope politicians can work towards creating more job opportunities for disabled people so that more employers will follow suit."

Follow our political correspondent

You can keep up to date with David Allkins' weekly reports and interviews here on the United Response blog and via the dedicated political correspondent YouTube playlist. 

You can also follow David’s progress and the latest Every Vote Counts campaign news by searching for #URpolcor and #EVC on Twitter.

Sarah Bartlett, head of press and appeals.