DISABLED people are being offered a route into full-time employment thanks to two not-for-profit organisations.
Beckwith’s and Bishopwearmouth Landscapes are offering part-time, supervised employment for people with a range of disabilities.
Both hope to build confidence and prove to prospective employers that those with disabilities can work just as well as those without, offering some 40 roles between them.
Beckwith’s operates cafes, restaurants and shops across the city, while Bishopwearmouth Landscapes specialise in horticultural services.
On Friday, the two teamed up at Washington’s Woodridge Garden’s Care Home for the annual spring fair, providing the catering and floral arrangements.
Director Steve Jarvis said: “Our business plan and drive is to help people who are disabled, to give them a voice and the opportunities that everyone else has.
“We are proud of what we do and love to show people what they can do.
“Life can be quite tough and some people have got opinions about people with disabilities, and part of our job is to dispel those myths and show that these people can do a good job.”
Stuart Worthy, 42, from Sunderland, works two days a week in the kitchen for Beckwith’s and told the Echo he loves mixing, cooking and baking cakes.
Colleague Ian Easingwood, 39, added: “I enjoy it. I like learning different skills, dealing with the public and just helping everybody out. Hopefully, I can show people what we can do and give them some different ideas.”
Penshaw’s Tony Hilton, 32, said: “I like earning money and I have a lot of friends here. I’ve only just started but it’s really good and I’d rather be here than in the house.”
Bishopwearmouth Landscapes arranged floral displays for the fair, with the help of 28-year-old Chris Younger, from Sunderland. “I’ve been here about a year,” he said. “I love doing this and just helping people out.”
Bryan Hill, 47, added: “I enjoy it, it gets you out into the community, showing people what we can do.”