The team at The Cedars Inn were delighted to win a prestigious ‘Employer of the Year’ award at a Disability Confident event held last week.
Hosted by Pluss,Disability Confident is a national campaign launched by David Cameron that encourages employers to be positive about the skills that disabled people bring to business. Pluss is a national partner in the campaign and is working closely with the Minister for Disabled People to bring the campaign to local areas.
The event was opened by Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Devon, who presented The Cedars Inn with their trophy and a bottle of champagne. The Cedars is part of Old English Inns.
Over 75 North Devon businesses also attended the event with speakers including The Cedars Inn and Johnny Kingdom.
The employers spoke about how employing a disabled person is one of the best decisions they have ever made; how it has "breathed life" into their business, transformed their customer relations, their performance – and benefited their bottom line!
On winning the ‘Employer of the Year’ award, Peter Elder, General Manager at The Cedars, said "This award means so much to the whole team. Everyone we have employed through Pluss has breathed life into our business. They have all really valued the opportunity, worked hard and helped the whole team ensure we deliver a first rate service to our customers."
Also awarded with the Pluss ‘Achiever of the Year’ was Cedars Inn employee, Leasan Chipperfield. Leasan has faced a number of chronic health conditions along with clinical depression and debilitating anxiety. There have been times when Leasan found it impossible to leave the house.
Leasan is now a waitress at The Cedars Inn and has been described as an exemplary member of the team. Her sunny personality, excellent customer service skills and a ‘can do’ approach are now her trademarks.
Leasan says "Twelve months ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would be sitting here today. It’s the first time I have ever been able to say that I really love a job, and I am so pleased to hear that I am doing a good job and proving useful. It feels fantastic; the fact I am getting out of the house and doing something with my life. I am a much happier person. It is the best thing I have ever done."
Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, yet there is 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 Devon it is only 8.6%.
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 customers are disabled and having a workforce that reflects its community is good for business. On top of this, disabled people and their families spend £212 billion a year in the UK (£20 billion here in the South West).