Guest of Honour at the Work Zone Dinner, organised by Andover and District Mencap, was the BBC Sports Reporter and Broadcaster Clare Balding.
"It was good to see so many employers in Andover responding to Andover Mencap's suggestion they they employ some of Andover Mencap's clients, and make good use of their talents and commitment. Not only are these employers enabling people fully to develop their potential, but they are saying something about the sort of firms they are. I want to buy from shops and do business with firms that work with Andover Mencap."
Speaking after Sir George presented four emplpyers with certificates, Clare Balding said it was crucial to focus on what people can do, and not on what they can't. And building confidence was crucial to developing to the full people's capacity to contribute fully to society.
What is Work Zone?
This description is taken from literature supplied by Andover Mencap
What kind of work could Work Zone clients do? It depends! Just like most of us, people who have a learning disability have a unique set of abilities and skills - some of which may be useful to specific types of business.
For example, Work Zone, under the auspices of Andover & District Mencap, has clients currently enjoying work in various organisations in and around Andover. We have clients employed in supermarkets, retail outlets, factories, nursing homes, gardening and cleaning groups and leisure centres. Work Zone exists to provide the opportunity for people with a learning disability to experience work in order to maximise their full potential, thus enabling them to work towards a more independent lifestyle.
Irrespective of whether or not we choose to work, most of us do have a choice. If we are sufficiently determined, most of us are able to find some kind of job - and to experience the many benefits that typically come from working. Yet for people with a learning disability, finding employment can be very difficult. Even though learning-disabled people with employment potential have skills which could be very useful to certain businesses - and invariably a great deal of all-important enthusiasm - the employment market is mostly un-aware of what they have to offer. And by the same token, to someone who has a learning disability, the conventional process of finding and applying for a job can seem confusing. However, Work Zone exists to help its clients negotiate these obstacles - with the ultimate objective being to provide the opportunity for people with a learning disability to experience and enjoy work.