Funding will expand work opportunities for adults with autism and learning disabilities

A Stratford-based organisation that helps adults with autism and learning disabilities get valuable work experience and gain new skills has been given £44,585 by Warwickshire County Council to develop its service.

ECO (Enterprise Community Opportunity) Work-Shop, based in the Clifford Park Business Centre, is a community interest company that enables people to take part in a range of light work-based activities while at the same time being helped to develop work, life and social skills.

The organisation, which was created by parents of adults who have autism or learning disabilities, helps individuals get involved in tasks ranging from light assembly work for factories to making handmade paper products, filling envelopes, collecting recyclables such as empty drinks cans, postage stamps and printer cartridges, and even taking on unique commissions such as collecting and preparing 140 conkers for an autumn wedding!

The £44,585 funding, which has been awarded by Warwickshire County Council’s People Group Investment Board, will be used to fund new premises and further increase the employability of people who use the service through offering more real work opportunities and building links with more local businesses.

The funding will enable the organisation to further support individuals through apprenticeships, work opportunities and paid employment, jointly working with the Warwickshire Employment Support Team (WEST).

Councillor Jose Compton, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to award this funding to ECO Work-Shop, which delivers such brilliant work while at the same time being sensitive to the needs of people who have autism or learning disabilities.

“The jobs that they carry out help local businesses and the community while enabling them to achieve their own personal goals.”

Cllr Maggie O’Rourke, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny committee, said: “By providing a supportive environment, ECO Work-Shop is giving people who have autism or learning disabilities the opportunity to carry out a wide range of interesting activities while participating in their local community and improving their skills and confidence.”

Sue Morrison, Operations Director, ECO Work-Shop, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this backing and delighted that the Council has faith and trust in our organisation. It will be of tremendous assistance while we develop the service.”