Employers urged to see Ability not Disability

Business in the Community Ireland

State Street and Social Innovation Fund Ireland join forces to empower more people with a disability to gain employment

New €1.5 million Ability to Work Fund aims to reach 500 people with disabilities across Ireland

Employers across Ireland were urged to “see ability not disability” and to create more opportunities in the workplace for people with visible and invisible disabilities at the launch of a new partnership between State Street and the Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI), supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.   The partnership will see the creation of the Ability to Work fund which will provide €1.5million funding over 3 years to organisations working to empower people with a disability to gain employment.

Launching the fund, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, noted that many people with disabilities wish to work but are faced with barriers and challenges. This fund, she said, is an important initiative to provide the supports for those people living with disabilities.  A disability might be a visible, physical or intellectual disability or it might be an invisible one such as a learning disability, traumatic brain injury or mental health condition.   According to the Social Innovation Fund Ireland, nearly 10% of people living in Ireland identified as living with a disability and those with a disability are half as likely to be in employment as others of working age.  That is creating significant inequality in our society.

The Ability to Work Fund will help create pathways to employment where people with disabilities can achieve economic independence, make a social contribution and experience personal fulfilment.  SIFI and State Street hope that during the three years of the initiative, the fund will reach 500 educationally-disadvantaged students across the country and empower 250 people to progress along pathways to employment.

The Ability to Work Fund is now open for applications until February 2020 and details are available from the Social Innovation Fund (www.socialinnovation.ie/ability-to-work-fund/).  Successful applicants will receive cash grants as well as a place on an Accelerator Programme which includes bespoke training from best-in-class experts across the private, non-profit and public sector. The Fund is designed specifically to equip charities and social enterprises to expand their business acumen, drive growth and deepen their impact across Ireland.  SIFI and State Street believe that this

Fund can also contribute to global change and Awardees’ impact will be measured against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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