United Response has a long and proud history of supporting people with disabilities into employment. Often, the right support can make a world of difference when it comes to people finding and keeping work that is both meaningful and satisfying.

Laura Stott, a United Response service manager from Trafford Supported Employment, knows exactly how important the right support can be. Her team supported David, who was brain damaged at birth, to get work at a branch of Waitrose in Manchester, where he has been since November 2013.

He had previously worked at another supermarket for more than 22 years, but when they moved him from the trolley section to inside the store, David felt very unsettled and anxious. He did not have any support during this process and ended up leaving his job as a result.

United Response job coaches met David during this period of unemployment and supported him to look for another job.

“Ironically, he is doing the same work at Waitrose that they wanted him to do in his last job, which shows how important it is to have the right support,” says Laura. “Sometimes employers don’t realise that it’s possible to apply for funding if a staff member is struggling.”

Making reasonable adjustments at work

David required a few ‘reasonable adjustments’ when he began his role at Waitrose, such as being allowed to put less stock on shelves than other staff would, in order to give him time to get the hang of things. While David’s speech is now fine following speech therapy, he cannot read or write, so stocking shelves and working in the warehouse are tasks that very much suit him, rather than price-checking or working on the tills.

“He can read some things, but generally works by recognising the colours of stock," Laura explains. "It’s a bit of a struggle if the whole shelf is empty, but he just asks other staff if he’s not sure, and has now got to a point where he knows where most things are and he’s doing great.”

What David and his family think about his work

David works eight and a half hours a week across two shifts. "I enjoy my job and everyone is friendly," he says. His mum agrees that “everybody supports him and he’s very happy there".

Find out more about United Response’s supported employment programmes in Trafford, Cornwall and York. If you know someone with a brain injury who requires our support, find out about our work with people with acquired brain injuries.

Anna Nathanson, design and communications assistant.