Disability charity, United Response, is hosting a working lunch event on Friday 16th June to celebrate the positive work that is being carried out in Greater Manchester to help unlock the employment potential of the 65,000 people with learning disabilities living in the area.

The working lunch will take place at Lancashire Country Cricket Club from 11am to 1pm.

Many adults with learning disabilities want a job, yet nationally less than 6 per cent are in paid work. In Greater Manchester, employment rates for adults with learning disabilities vary considerably across the 10 GM authorities, with far more securing paid work in some areas than others.

The working lunch will be held in Trafford, one of the authorities which has had the greatest success in helping adults with learning disabilities to find paid work and where United Response’s Greater Manchester Supported Employment Service has been operating for the last 14 years.

The event will include speeches from the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Kate Green MP.

Ms Green said:

“I’m delighted to be a part of this event. I know from my own experience that people with a learning disability have lots to offer in the workplace, but the rate of employment among those with a learning disability remains pitifully low. There is so much to do to give employers the confidence to understand the benefits of employing someone with a learning disability and to share information about the support available.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the success stories, and sharing ideas about how we can encourage more employers in Trafford to consider employing someone with a learning disability.”

Tim Cooper, CEO of United Response, will outline the charity’s vision for transforming social care and opening up the world of work for people with learning disabilities.

Tim said:

“We want to demonstrate the power that having a job gives to people with a learning disability and people on the autistic spectrum. We know that the employment gap is significantly greater for people with learning disabilities than that for people with disabilities as a whole. This event is aimed at bringing together decision makers from across Greater Manchester to address this.”

Two short films will be shown, telling the stories of Stacey Lawley and Peter Morris Hind, who were both successful in finding paid work with the support of United Response.

Peter, an Apprentice Software Engineer/Developer for the BBC, said:

“People with learning difficulties really struggle to get into work because there are certain preconceptions people have about certain conditions. People often aren’t aware of certain conditions beyond stereotypes.”

James Scales, Head of Education at the national think tank, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), will discuss the findings and recommendations from the CSJ’s recent report ‘Rethinking Disability at Work’ and the Government’s expected upcoming White Paper.

James said:

“The low employment rate of disabled people is one of the most striking injustices of our generation. We need sensible solutions and the resolve to push them through. Our report, Rethinking Disability at Work, provides ways of meeting all these challenges, and more, offering a clear blueprint for a more inclusive, productive and robust labour force.”

Other key speakers will include CEOs from The Work Company, Pluss, Shaw Trust, and representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Interviews and photo opportunities with speakers are available on request. Please contact the United Response press team on [email protected] for further details.

We hope you can join us to find out how together we can make work, work for people with learning disabilities in Greater Manchester.