Celebrating thirty years of helping disabled people back into the workplace, the Manx Workshop for the Disabled is about to launch a new website, as they continue to expand their profile and develop greater awareness within the Island’s community.
Founded in 1983, the Manx Workshop for the Disabled has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a Nissan hut donated by Shoprite, adjacent to the Manx Foundation’s headquarters on Victoria Avenue, Douglas. But their focus of helping to resolve the difficulties experienced by members as they assimilate into a work-based society remains constant.
Registered as a charity, the workshop was instigated by members of the Manx Foundation who were experiencing difficulties looking for work to suit their needs, which in the early days focused on craft work, filling envelopes, engraving and assembly.
However, the turning point came when it was clear that their original premises couldn’t meet the needs of modern building regulations, and in 2007 the Department of Health and Social Security provided a refurbished workshop on the site of the old Noble’s Hospital.
Spokesperson Martin Sewell said, “We’ve celebrated thirty years in 2013 with a sense of relief and anticipation. We’ve survived some tough times and we have an exciting future to grasp, making items that are Manx designed and Manx made from Manx materials.”
The Manx Workshop for the Disabled fulfils an important role in society, offering meaningful employment to those with a disability, providing training and development skills to enhance their prospects in the job market. Equally it’s looked upon as a support mechanism for local businesses and as a way of improving public perception and acceptance of disabled people in the workplace.
After their relocation, the workshop was equipped with new machinery, computers and software, providing advanced design and manufacturing capabilities suitable for the disabled and a wide range of goods; with all sale proceeds reinvested into the charity’s work.
Martin continued, “Ten years ago we were dependent upon the provision of company seals and engraving. Now we design many of the trophies and awards we engrave and make an ever increasing range of wooden items.”
With an estimated 12% – 14% of the population suffering some form of disability, the support of donors, trusts and other funding providers has made a difference in the lives of many disabled people. Over time it’s hoped that the Manx Workshop for the Disabled can extend both their facilities and services to help many more back in to the workplace.
With their distinctive clocks, pens, gifts and other souvenirs (some using Manx Gaelic) available throughout the Island and at their workshop in Douglas, it’s now possible to buy online through their new website.