Steve Offord, a 57 year old Caretaker at OK4U (part of SEQOL) in Swindon is committed, hard working and happy.
However, rewind one year and it was a completely different story. Steve had been through a long period of unemployment that left him in an extremely low place.
Steve explains “In 2012, I fractured my ankle, 10 months later they operated and I was out of work for one and a half years. It had an awful impact on me - I have never felt so terrible in my life. It really opened my eyes to the world as I had to rely on other people. I was very down; it was bad. I was told I would have to come off Employment Support Allowance and that made me more determined than ever to get a job.”
Steve was then referred to Pluss, a local Social Enterprise that has helped over 200 people with disabilities into work across Swindon.
“When I first got to Pluss they gave me just the right support as I was so down. I did workshops to help me build my confidence and I really needed it. I was meek. Pluss listened to me. They gave me the right move to get into work then they found me the job here - I couldn’t believe it.
“Now I really like working with all the people here; I took to it like a duck to water; straight away, as it is such a good environment.
“This job has made such a big difference to me; both financially but also with my peace of mind. I don’t worry about things any more. You think too much when you’re unemployed. It’s a sign of stress; thinking all the time.
“Now, it feels really good. I hope I am here until I retire. I am very happy.”
Steve’s Manager, Frances Robinson, is equally delighted. “Steve is very committed to the job, enthusiastic and determined to do more. We could see his commitment straight away; he wanted to learn and do more so it was really positive. He has made a really big difference.
“Steve’s quality of work is really good and he uses his initiative. Having people like Steve work for us means we stay clean and safe. He is also always happy, smiling and pleased to see people.
“He still wants to push himself, he wants to do more and he should be very proud of himself. “
Businesses looking for free disability recruitment support can find out more at www.pluss.org.uk.