Happy New Year to you

What do you think?

  • Small and medium businesses interested in hanging on to people with health issues?
  • Got any examples of SMEs who are great employers of disabled people?
  • Blind pewterer?

After a very quiet Christmas remembering my mother who died last year, I want some new challenges for 2016.

There are still lots to be done on helping more disabled people to work – so I’m developing a new training workshop aimed specifically at small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) – after all, they employ most people and, I’m sure, already have masses of people with long-term health conditions.  They are most likely to face the biggest disruption if they lose someone due to ill-health.  It is not just the cost and misery of recruiting and training new people but the loss of probably a long-term colleague with loads of experience of the business.  Keeping someone on really isn’t that difficult, risky or expensive – making some simple changes can cost nothing but pay dividends.

I’m still convinced that single organisations have less chance of getting people back to work –especially when they have lots of complex issues whether health, finances, skills, confidence or more.  Partnerships that bring together real experts that offer specialist help specifically tailored to clients with particular needs can be very successful if they are well bound together.  And that binding is more than just funding and contracts – it needs to be mutual trust, understanding and ability.  This is exactly what we have tried to create with the Help to Work partnership (www.helptowork.org.uk) over the past few years – and we have a very active community of partners who work well together.

Finally, one of my mad creative goals this year is to model a collection of Christmas cake decorations that can be cast in (lead-free) pewter!  Having baked over 50 cakes last year, I need something new for 2016.  Here’s a picture of my first attempts of tiny parcels.  A mix of Araldite and powdered chalk created the modelling medium – but, you can imagine, was pretty messy when I couldn’t see where I was spooning the powder.  Luckily, the table cleaned up well although it took days to chip the stuff off my nails.  I’ll try a better effort and then have a list of more designs – and some could be cufflinks and brooches.  When it gets to the casting, I’m too chicken to pour the liquid metal but stick to mould-making – I do know my limitations!

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

160107 - models

My prototype models!

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