The Orchardville Society and Royal Mail

Uploaded by BigLotteryFundVideos on 20.05.2010

The Big Lottery Fund is helping some of Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged young people
increase their chances of employment through a number of innovative projects. One such
scheme ABLE which stands for Autism Builds Links to Employment was developed by The Orchardville
Society with lottery cash and is helping young people gain vital experience through work
placements and employment and organisations such as Royal Mail.
Since the project began last year, one young person has already secured employment while
another 30 have got work placements in a range of organisations in the private, public and
community and voluntary sectors across Northern Ireland.
Lydia Lynas: The project is working with young people and adults with autistic spectrum disorder
from the age of 16 and these are young people who without this funding from the Big Lottery
Fund wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience any employment services. So it’s very much
an employment service preparing people for jobs and giving them the training they need
to be successful at work. Well the Orchardville Society have a good relationship with the
Royal Mail. We’ve worked with them now for a number of years and more recently with project
ABLE. We feel that it’s encouraging diversity, we feel that staff here are more aware of
disability in particular the disabilities and effects of autistic spectrum disorder.
There’s an opportunity for staff to take part in training around autism which they
find very beneficial.
We work with a number of private sector organisations, Tesco, Iceland, Botanic Inns all state, maybe
some of the main organisation that we’re currently working with on the program. And
as you see from that there’s quite a wide range of opportunities there from within retail,
within the ICT sector and catering and hospitality. We hope that young people on the program will
be successful and get a job. For that young person that will mean being financially independent,
it’ll mean that they’re making a contribution to their community. It’ll mean that they’re
able to develop friendships and other relationships meaning that they’re less socially isolated.
And as well as all that it’s given them the confidence and the self esteem which can
act then as a spring board to do the other things. Maybe further education, higher education
and so on.
Chris: Hello my name is Chris, I’m 18 years old and I work here as a postage assistant.
I put letter into pigeon holes and I send most of them to like England, Scotland. I
sometimes post them to other places in Europe and I sent very few to Australia, the United
States, Canada and other countries throughout the world. I really like it here, the people
are very friendly and like a brilliant atmosphere here. And I had a few jobs before but I have
to say this is the best one I’ve had.
Pamela Stevenson: I think for us one of the things around Chris was that when Chris first
came to Royal Mail he was quite shy. And we have found that through working with his colleagues
on the floor here that he has basically become much more integrated into our employee base,
and there’s lots, there are lots of activities that Chris is able to get involved in, and
I think from a personal basis we’ve seen his confidence level rise and which will hopefully
stand him in good stead.
I think every employer should reflect the community that they work in and that’s what
we’re trying to do, and there is no point in us kind of saying that “oh well we only
have a particular type of person that works with us”. We want to be as inclusive possible.
The other thing I think about the whole idea of working with Orchardville is the partnership
aspect and that knowing that professional support is there for us. And I think for employers
it can be quite a daunting experience of thinking about what they would like to do but perhaps
not having the expertise and how to manage that. And with working with Orchardville we
get that expertise.
Walter Rader: I think it’s tremendously important for a funder like us to make links
with the business community, the private sector if you like. Because many of the private sector
organisations already have amazing contact with their local communities, but for some
it’s a whole new area of work and we’d like to join with them in exploring the possibilities
in working with local communities and we may even be able to help with some funding.
Chris: Months ago I thought I wasn’t going to work anywhere good but finally found this
place and really proud to work here.