�500k Lotto windfall for Havering disability group

A LIFE-changing jobs scheme for people with learning disabilities has been celebrating after being awarded almost �500,000 in lottery cash.

The Realistic Opportunities for Supported Employment (ROSE) programme helps young people find valuable, confidence boosting paid work.

The scheme, run by Havering College, staged a celebration after receiving the massive seal of approval from the Big Lottery Fund.

The �490,000 windfall will fund ROSE for the next three years, enabling it to take on extra career coaches and help more people find work.

Success stories attended the get together the college campus in Harold Hill to tell their stories.

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Phillip, 20, has two jobs thanks to ROSE, one at Romford’s Outback restaurant and the other at the Food Court in Lakeside.

Outback manager Tony Bence said: “The ROSE clients we employ bring great work ethics to the team and work very hard. It is a great programme.”

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Matthew Lyne, 19, an admin assistant at Liddell Solicitors in Gidea Park, said: “I really wanted a job and this has made a lot of difference to me.”

His mum Carol praised the scheme saying ‘it gives young people with challenges a good sense of purpose.’

Personal job coaches provide individual support, taking the young people, taking them to and from work, and staying with them for their entire shift until they can work independently.

The scheme has an 80 per cent success rate, is recognised by the government and has been Highly Commended for an Association of Colleges Beacon Award.

Katie Armour, 21, is now working in the Mayor’s office at the London Borough of Havering.

She said: “I really enjoy it. The team are nice and friendly and I get to go and help out at a lot of the official functions.”

ROSE manager Sharon Gould called for more employers who need reliable and dedicated staff to sign up to the scheme and reap the benefits.

She added: “In the current climate employment is difficult for anyone to find but for someone with learning disabilities or difficulties, it is even more so.”

Businesses are invited to a ROSE networking event at Romford Town Hall on Thursday, February 10, from 5.30pm.

For further information telephone 01708 462865 or email rose@havering-college.ac.uk

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