Employment charity faces closure

Work experience

A move has been made to save Real Jobs Falkirk after it lost its £48,000 worth of core funding 

12th December 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity which helps young people into work is set to close after drastic funding cuts.

Real Jobs Falkirk has sent out an impassioned plea to help it continue providing vital employment support services to young people with learning disabilities, after losing its funding.

Since 2009, the charity has helped 183 young people with learning disabilities, autism or other long-term health conditions from Carrongrange High School gain the skills, confidence and independence required to join the working world.

Providing a vital life-line through work placements whilst still in school, volunteering opportunities, or support to get into college to make them work ready, the charity’s dedicated staff work on a one-to-one basis with each young person to ensure they overcome the barriers they face when looking for employment.

Sadly, the charity is being forced to close in the wake of local government funding cuts, with the £48,000 required to keep the charity going set to end in March 2020. Three members of staff will be made redundant, a team that has already been hit with redundancies following similar cutbacks earlier this year.

The decision to withdraw its financial support comes a year to the day that the Scottish Government outlined an action plan to at least halve the disability employment gap in Scotland. Despite this, the latest Government figures indicate that only 7% of people with learning disabilities have a job in Scotland, compared with 75% of the rest of the population.

Linda Tuthill, chief executive at Real Jobs Falkirk, said: “Young people with additional needs have the same hopes, plans and dreams as anyone else when leaving school.  But for many young people with learning disabilities, the right support is vital if they are to make this a reality.

“Ensuring that these marginalised young people can find their way into paid or voluntary employment is a right that every young person in Scotland should have.  We work with them every step of the way to support them on their own, personal journey to reach a positive destination.

“We are absolutely devastated that we won’t be able to continue helping them now, and in the future. The government’s own statistics show the shocking disparity in employment rates between people with learning disabilities and the rest of the population, and more needs to be done to close this gap. 

“Today, we are sending out an impassioned plea to help raise the £48,000 needed to keep Real Jobs Falkirk’s doors open; to ensure this vital project continues to support these young people and the next generation to create a better future for themselves, and for Scotland as a whole.”

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of this vital service, and a short film featuring young people from Falkirk who have been helped into work by the charity.

The charity is also asking for donations to help keep the doors open. Help save Real Jobs Falkirk by donating online.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “The decision was agreed by members in 2019 as part of its budget process. It was also agreed that a part funding award would support them to look at other funding opportunities.

“We have kept the group fully informed throughout the process and are still in dialogue with them.”