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22 Businesses Give Disabled People Chance

Monday 9 October 2006

Two Years On 22 Businesses Give Disabled People Chance at Paid Work

Twenty-two local businesses are applauded this month for opening their doors and giving people with mental health or physical disabilities paid work.

On the eve of placing its 40th person into paid work, the Vanessa Employment Service (VES) celebrates its two-year birthday. For VES Coordinators Terry Drummond and Penny Moeke, it’s a time to congratulate participating local business men and women.

“The directors and managers at places like Double J Smallwoods Ltd, Cedenco Foods, Eastland Toyota and Pak ‘N” Save are just brilliant, and will probably never know how much their involvement with VES means to the clients,” says Mr Drummond.

Over the past two years VES clients have worked in packhouses, offices, timber yards, garden stores, orchards and butchers to name a few. Jobs they have done include shelf stacking, cooking, courier driving and cleaning.

Bryan Campbell who lives with a mental health disability is a VES success story. He’s been at Double J Smallwoods as a sawmill worker for 18 months. Initially sceptical he could hold down the job, he now works 50 hours a week and loves the focus it brings to his life, and the money!

“I didn’t know how long I would be here but this is where I have stayed. I’d be unemployed if it wasn’t for this. I’ve never thought about leaving and I’m saving money.”

His boss, Double J Director Jon Gardner employs five staff through VES. “They are stable workers. The teaching process might take a bit longer but once that has been achieved it’s cemented in.”

He speaks highly of Bryan and fellow staffer from VES Nick Cudd. “You can’t fault Bryan. Anything he has learned is cemented in there, and he has his regular duties that he never fails to achieve. Nick is an awesome worker. We can count on his production to a tee and quality is high.”

“Being involved with VES is also good for able-bodied colleagues because it helps them have a better appreciation of people that face life with a disability. They will take the person under their wing.”

Ms Moeke says unfortunately VES always has more workers than employers. “Often it’s just a case of educating a business, or having them hear about other successful placements, before we can encourage them to come on board.”

One of the nicest aspects of the programme are the invites clients get to after-work gatherings and social occasions, says Ms Moeke. “It boosts the self esteem of our clients and their confidence. Just getting their pay packet at the end of the week increases their morale and it’s a sense of achievement”.

Mr Drummond and Ms Moeke are very keen to hear from anyone interested in employing a VES client. Phone (06) 863 2661 for more details.

Local Businesses involved with VES Over Past Two Years

1. Captain Morgans
2. Scotty’s Bar and Grill
3. Convenience Foods Ltd
4. Eastland Toyota
5. Montana Wines
6. Leaderbrand Produce Ltd
7. Felkirk Ltd
8. APCO Colour Concepts
9. Te Kupenga Net Trust
10. Gisborne Auto
11. Treble Court
12. Tairawhiti District Health Board
13. Cedenco Foods
14. Pak ‘N’ Save
15. Richmond Fellowship
16.Turanga Health
17. Jim’s Mowing
18. Vanessa Lowndes Centre
19. Turanganui Primary Health Organisation
20 Juken Nissho Ltd
21 Brix Niteclub
22. Double J Smallwoods

ENDS

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