How Social Enterprise Kent is supporting people with disabilities and health conditions
Since 2017 Social Enterprise Kent has been successfully delivering the Let’s Get Working project across East Kent. Let’s Get Working is a bespoke and highly effective employability project supporting people who are unemployed and have disabilities and health conditions, to go into long- term, sustainable employment, access training and develop work- related skills. We support people to identify, address and overcome the barriers they are facing as a result of living with a long- term health condition or disability and help them to effectively communicate this to prospective employers. We focus on building confidence and self- esteem a long with reducing social i solation and loneliness.
Let’s Get Working is a social prescribing research project led by Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) who deliver across East Sussex and partnering with SEK covering East Kent and Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) who cover West Kent and Medway. It is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme which is funded by the European Social Fund ( ESF) and the National Lottery Community Fund.
We seek referrals from a wide variety of health care professionals and aim to work in partnership with them to bring together their medical knowledge of a person ’s health condition, with our highly experienced employability support, therefore maximising the opportunity for participants to achieve their full potential.
All participants are assigned a Community Connector who they work with on a 1:1 basis, meeting in their local community. In addition to addressing the bespoke needs of the individual, the project also supports with:
COVID-19 RECOVERY – Re-Entry Anxiety Programme
Social Enterprise Kent has been busier than ever since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 . We have seen a dramatic increase in referrals to all projects, with the demand for employability support increasing rapidly as the unemployment rate grew.
Along with this there has been an increase in participants declaring mental health concerns, particularly in relation to going out and about and re- engaging in employment. This anxiety has become so prevalent nationally, that it has even been given a name – Re-Entry Anxiety. To respond to this need, Social Enterprise Kent developed a programme of work which helps people to manage their Re-Entry Anxiety by taking individualised steps forward whilst staying safe and adhering to government guidelines.
This programme is available free of charge to all participants on SEK employability projects. To date over 90 % of participants who we have worked with since the programme was launched in September 2020, reported they feel they have benefitted from this project. Many of these participants have now left the programme to go into employment or training. Upon leaving the project over 90 % of them reported an improvement in their mental health and wellbeing.