Two Gloucester businesses were delighted to win a prestigious ‘Employer of the Year’ award at a Disability Confident event held today in Gloucester.
Hosted by Pluss, Richard Graham MP presented Secret Garden and B&M with their trophy, certificate and bottle of champagne.
The Secret Garden nursery, based in Eastgate Street, provides child care for children aged up to five years old. They have offered several job opportunities to people with disabilities and as a result two young people have found employment in a career that they love.
On winning the ‘Employer of the Year’ award, Charles Perkins, Owner at Secret Garden, said “It is fantastic to get this recognition. Secret Garden opened in 2014 and we made a conscientious decision to employ people that reflect our local community - using the skills and abilities that they bring. Employing people with disabilities has had a very positive impact on the business. Rachele, who came from Pluss, has been with us from the start – she is cheery, enthusiastic and has shown great loyalty. This trophy will take pride of place and we will proudly show it to parents at the nursery.”
Amy Slade, Sales Assistant from B&M, accepted the award on behalf of B&M. B&M have employed 10 colleagues through Pluss since 2012 at their stores in Gloucester and Cheltenham.
Sharon McCarthy, Manager at Southgate Street B&M said “It was a great privilege receiving the award on behalf of B&M. The work we do with Pluss is invaluable. It allows us to find true talent with individuals who may be otherwise overlooked and we have a fantastic support network with the Pluss team. Thank you for your nomination and the recognition.”
Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester added “It is fantastic to see one large and one small business in Gloucester City Centre employing people with a disability. I would like to offer my congratulations to Secret Garden, B&M and Pluss for supporting the people of Gloucester into work.
Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, yet there has historically been a large gap between the numbers of disabled people employed compared with non disabled people. Over 72% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability living in Gloucester it is only 12.1%.
Many employers find that by encouraging applications from disabled people they are able to extend the pool of high quality applicants available to them. For an average business, 20% of their customers are disabled people. A workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers it serves is good for business. On top of this, disabled people and their families spend £212 billion a year in the UK.
Pluss works with more than 250 employers across Gloucestershire, helping them to recruit and retain staff with a disability.