For most of us a job is something that we take for granted. Something that happens in-between weekends which allows us to buy the latest gadgets and gizmos. Unless you have ever been unluckily enough to find yourself desperately seeking work, few of us will ever understand the impact on self-esteem and quality of life that it can have.
Fareeda Southworth is the Volunteers Manager at Action for Kids, a charity whose mission is to help young disabled people gain paid work and lead more live independent lives.
‘At our office in Hornsey, we offer Education and Training where trainees take part in activities and sessions such as communication, healthy eating and exercise. When our trainees are ready, the Life & Work Team support people in planning for their future in employment by choosing what work they would like to do’ Fareeda explains.
Currently only 6% of people with learning disabilities throughout the UK are in paid work, a number that Action for Kids are trying hard to improve. Since the charity started job coaching in 2013, 77% of their students who have been through the programme are now in sustained employment.
On top of all the great work helping young people gain work, they also raise money to provide specialist wheelchairs and walking equipment for people across the UK.
There is no doubt that this small charity is changing lives as Fareeda joyfully says, ‘I see young people starting here as shy and timid and just a few weeks later I see them develop and smiling’ and being true to word they practice what they preach with some members of the team being previous students.
‘Our vision is that people living with a disability get to lead a life they choose just like their non-disabled peers’.
Quick Fire Questions
Favourite pizza topping?
How would your best friends describe you in three words?
F: Fun, friendly and very organised
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
F: I would change everybody in this world to really love each other, wouldn’t that be good.
What colour is your toothbrush?
F: White and blue
What is your favourite film quote?
F: Oh my goodness [takes a moment to think] ok it’s ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’.
White, milk or dark chocolate?
Favourite flavour jam?
F: It’s got to be low sugar, fresh strawberry jam, homemade.
Do you make your own?
F: I actually make banana jam… it’s gorgeous with breakfast or with ice-cream for dessert.
If you would like to know more volunteering at Action for Kids or interested in donating, visit their website at www.actionforkids.org or call 020 8347 8111