Action on Disability and Work UK (ADWUK) was born out of the Vassall Centre Trust in September 2012. The Trust had been responsible for managing the Vassall Centre in Bristol, a well-established conference centre and office space, which won national awards and has become a beacon of accessibility in working environments. On selling the building, the Board decided to continue with a focus on promoting the working lives of disabled people and the organisation was renamed ADWUK.
Action on Disability and Work UK, as a Disabled People’s User-Led Organisation, was committed to improving disabled people’s working lives and opportunities via a peer support model. The organisation ran a national advice service delivered by disabled advisors to both disabled people and employers. The service provided bespoke advice on a case-by-case basis on all aspects of work. As part of the service, the team also offered consultancy and training to both employers and staff to help improve the recruitment and retention of disabled people.
Action on Disability and Work UK also set up an accessible work club in Bristol. Here, disabled jobseekers continue to be supported in person, usually by other disabled people, in steps towards employment, including improving IT skills.
During its existence, ADWUK supported over 1,000 disabled people to enable them to fulfil their potential in work and provided advice to over 150 organisations to help employers successfully recruit and retain disabled staff.
In February 2016 ADWUK transferred its employment services, staff and assets into WECIL. In a challenging funding environment, the ADWUK Board of Trustees decided that combining forces with WECIL would enhance the service to both disabled people and employers, and would be the best way to secure this provision into the future.
The advice service, work club and training and consultancy services continue and are now integrated into WECIL’s wider package of support. WECIL is also a disabled-led organisation, committed to pioneering innovative services, and is continuing to build on ADWUK’s work to champion the working lives of disabled people.