Over the last 20 years WORK Ltd has been providing a friendly, encouraging and rewarding, community-based service for adults with a variety of learning disabilities. The Trustees, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to create an increasing number of opportunities to develop vocational and life skills. This helps to build confidence, self-esteem and encourage each individual to strive to reach their own potential. Through these activities, our ‘students’ have blossomed with many never fully appreciating just what they could achieve.
WORK Ltd (or Worthwhile, Occupational & Recreational Krafts, to give it its full name) began with around a dozen students in 1995. From these humble beginnings, it has grown dramatically and now serves over 70 learning disabled students each week drawn from right across the city of Sheffield. New skills are acquired from working in our Bistro Café, The Hidden Gem, or in the Student Kitchen, which is designed to resemble a home environment. New abilities are developed in our Craft Centre making a variety of arts and crafts, textiles, woodwork and stained glass. All the products made by the students are then sold through the gift shop, which is part of The Hidden Gem. Not only does this provide much-needed income for the charity, but it also builds enormous confidence and self-worth in individuals for whom life has often severely damaged their self-esteem. When the students are told that the crafts they made have been sold then they just can’t believe that someone would choose to buy their product.
For so many of our students, WORK Ltd is a place where they can come together and build friendships, feeling loved and appreciated. With nature walks, sports, dance, music and drama on offer, there is something for all tastes. We also have the role of protecting some of our more vulnerable students who find they have no-one to turn to, or those who need support once their carer or parents have passed away.
One student’s parent commented, “WORK Ltd has provided the best of services for my adult daughter. She has done things I wouldn’t have thought possible. She loves going there. She is well cared for and her opinions are respected. She feels she belongs. In her own words, ‘BRILLIANT!’ Such peace of mind that you have what you need and from such caring, happy and dedicated people.”
Our Patron, The Right Hon. Nick Clegg rightly urges people “to go along and support this worthy cause.”
The project we are seeking support for is to solve the problem of a severely damaged car park area by re-surfacing it and providing much-needed lighting to ensure the safety of students, staff and volunteers.
Over the last 20 the years, the condition of the car park area has got worse and it has never really been finally completed. We desperately need to renovate it now for the following reasons:
• Many of our students are unsteady on their feet. Having to walk across this very uneven surface carries too much risk for them from a health and safety point of view. Some students need wheelchairs and their carers can struggle to push them on the uneven surfaces. We need to be able to Tarmac our car park area to make all the surface even and level and safe for our students.
• Most of our students require taxis to transport them to WORK Ltd on a daily basis. We need to make it a clear access for these taxis as well as for the emergency services.
• As 20 winters have gone by, freezing weather has led to a year-on-year deterioration of the car park surface. This last year, especially, has caused new issues, which have necessitated yet further patching up. But there are only so many times this sort of short-term remedial work can be done.
• In order to prepare fully for the day, staff commence work early in the morning, often in the dark. There is, therefore, a real and urgent safety need for the car park area to have appropriate safety lighting.