The Bridge: Changing attitudes and communities by turning skills and experience into earnings for self-advocacy organisations and self-advocates

This 2 year pilot project is led by BAROD in collaboration with Social Firms Wales and 3 self-advocacy organisations led by people with learning difficulties – Carmarthenshire People First, My Life My Choice, and People First Dorset.

The project is about finding solutions and specific routes into sustainable income generation and employment for people with learning difficulties. The project is aware of the Welsh Government’s new national strategy “Prosperity for All” for a more prosperous Wales and is focusing on the low levels of employment of people with learning difficulties and the increasing rate of closure of self-advocacy organisations in England and Wales due to lack of funding.

The project is:

  • Providing business support to enable self-advocacy organisations to become strong and independent of grant giving by developing their social enterprise business model(s) based on their unique experience and skills
  • Providing employment support to self-advocates and empowering people with learning difficulties to have the opportunity to take up paid work either within or outside their self-advocacy organisation which is commensurate with the expertise and experience of the individual
  • Managing barriers to financial participation through promoting awareness and coproducing solutions to the risks of commercial activity to self-advocacy organisations and the risks to self-advocates of paid work
  • The project is breaking down attitudinal barriers to disability by influencing practices around employment support and procurement by all sectors of services provided by self-advocacy organisations and self-advocates. The project is empowering self-advocates and their organisations to value their knowledge, skills, experience and their contribution to their community and wider society.