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Ipswich's Realise Futures recognised as industry leader in helping disabled people find employment

PUBLISHED: 10:39 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 10 May 2019

Ipswich’s Realise Futures has been awarded the new Social Enterprise Disability Employment Mark(SEDEM). Photo: Realise Futures.

Ipswich's Realise Futures has been awarded the new Social Enterprise Disability Employment Mark(SEDEM). Photo: Realise Futures.

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An Ipswich social enterprise which helps disabled people find meaningful employment is one of just seven UK businesses to be recognised as an industry leader.

Realise Futures has been give the new Social Enterprise Disability Employment Mark (SEDEM).

The seal of approval is designed to provide assurance for commissioners and funding bodies within the supported business sector.

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Sally Butcher, managing director of the social enterprise, highlighted how important the accolade will be as the organisation progresses.

"We are so pleased to be recognised as one of the pioneering businesses to receive the new Social Enterprise Disability Employment Mark in recognition of the support we provide to enable disabled people to find and maintain meaningful employment", she said.

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"It is our social mission to increase the economic participation of people in the east of England who are disabled and or disadvantaged, and we continue to measure our success on the positive impact we have on the lives of people we help and support, as well as the profit we generate."

Realise Futures employs just under 300 people throughout Suffolk and Essex - 41% of which have a disability.

It has been providing community learning in Suffolk for more than 25 years and runs more than 100 adult community learning courses from centres in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Newmarket and Lowestoft, and other community centres, covering maths and English, computers and technology, skills for work, health and wellbeing, and family learning.

By providing a mixture of support, adapted working practices, job coaches and extra supervision, disabled employees are able to thrive in meaningful positions.

And six Realise Futures' social businesses - from cafes to plant nurseries - provide employment, work experience and supported work for people with disabilities throughout Suffolk.

The SEDEM was developed by Social Enterprise Mark CIC - the social enterprise accreditation authority - following discussion with the department for Work and Pensions.

Social Enterprise Mark CIC's managing director Lucy Findlay added: "We hope this accreditation will become a yardstick for businesses that wish to prove their credentials in creating the most supportive environment for employing disabled people, as well as demonstrating their social value."

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