Realise Futures wins contract to deliver Work and Health Programme in Suffolk

From left, Realise Futures employment support managers Wendy Lisantri, Dimi Georgieva, Julia Rogers,

From left, Realise Futures employment support managers Wendy Lisantri, Dimi Georgieva, Julia Rogers, Andy Jolliffe and Rosie Thomas with employment operations manager Melanie Hercus. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a five-year contract to deliver the Government-funded Work and Health Programme in Suffolk on behalf of national charity Shaw Trust.

The programme aims to help people who have been unemployed for more than two years, or those with a disability or health condition, to find paid employment.

Shaw Trust has overall responsibility for delivering the programme across the Central and Home Counties regions, operating through partner organisations including Realise Futures, which already provides supported employment services for disabled people on behalf of Essex County Council and Building Better Opportunity contracts in both Suffolk and Essex.

Melanie Hercus, employment operations manager at Realise Futures, said: “Our experienced team of support managers are already on the ground working with participants referred to the Work and Health Programme through Jobcentre Plus.

“Once people are referred to us in Suffolk, our support managers get to know the participant and spend time with them understanding what type of work they are looking for, and what support they need to achieve this.

“An action plan is drawn up and we then support that person on their journey to work. We also work closely with employers as well as other providers and organisations to offer a holistic support service for our participants.”

She added: “We have a lot of experience in this field, helping disabled people to find work and support them through the whole process. We are very proud of the fact that we are Shaw Trust’s chosen provider to deliver the programme in Suffolk.”

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Realise Futures, which was spun out of Suffolk County Council as a community interest company in 2012, delivers a mix of adult education and employment support services.

It also includes six social businesses, in sectors including retail, manufacturing, catering and horticulture, which provide direct employment opportunities for adults who have a disability or are otherwise disadvantaged.

Realise Futures is one of the largest social enterprises in the East of England, employing around 330 people in Suffolk and Essex, out of which around 30% themselves have some form of disability.