getting more disabled people into work

Earlier this week, My Family, Our Needs wrote about routes to self-employment for disabled people. Here, we hear from Thera, a group of companies which provide support to adults with a learning disability across the UK. They are experienced in supporting people in all areas of their life, including employment.

Thera’s vision is that people with a learning disability can be leaders in society. Thera makes the vision real by directly employing people with a learning disability – which includes 40% of Thera’s paid directors.

Dolphins’ Den project

The Dolphins’ Den project was set up five years ago to help people explore self-employment. The idea came from Andrew Bright, a man with a learning disability who is employed as a Service Quality Director and Learning and Development Project Partner at Thera. Andrew knew all about the challenges people face in gaining employment and wanted to offer another way.

How does the project help?

Dolphins’ Den projects last for about a year. People attend a series of workshops which help them develop their business or community project idea, and to help them understand what it means to be self-employed. They are also mentored by someone who has experience in setting up their own business. They do not have to be supported by Thera to participate.

Since the project was set up, Dolphins’ Den has supported people to develop their ideas including a dog walking business, community choir, gardening business and a self-advocacy group.

Read more about Thera Trust and Dolphins’ Den project.