Enitan: Access to work is a government funded initiative that provides help for people with disabilities to actually perform and function as anybody else might.
Narrator: Enitan, partially sighted, IT technician.
Joe: The help I got from access to work was they sent around a support worker now and again and she really helped me out with my daily routine.
Narrator: Joe, Asperger syndrome, Entrepreneur.
Alex: I get my transport costs paid for me and I’ve got some adaptive technology to help me do my job better.
Narrator: Alex, Moebius syndrome, Administrative assistant.
Sadaqat: Access to Work provides interpreters form me and also a communications support worker.
Narrator: Sadaqat, Deaf, company director.
Jilly: Being only able to use one hand I have a real one handed keyboard and I have a trackball instead of a mouse, making it much easier for me to cope with. They really seem to understand what type of difficulties I would have in the workplace and what type of adaptions or ways of working could help me in order to achieve the best of my abilities.
Narrator: Jilly, Cerebral palsy and dyslexia, Administrative assisstant.
Natasha: I’ve had an exceptional level of support from Access to Work. Adaptations around the building like electric doors and hoist in the disabled toilet right through to help with my adaptations on my vehicle and in fact a couple of wheelchairs along the ride as well.
Narrator: Natasha, Spinal muscular atrophy, writer and actress.
Sue: (Dictating) [Thank you for your email about the staff meeting tomorrow – scrap that – this afternoon]. Access to Work gave me assistive technology to help me in my job. I didn’t really hope for anything actually. I didn’t think it would be possible to get me anything. I’d been doing the job for a long time and I thought people would just think I should know how to do it, getting on the way I was.
Narrator: Sue, dyslexia, manager.
Amanda: I would say its very easy to apply, the people who answered the phone were very helpful. They understood what it was I was asking for, which was an application form.
Narrator: Amanda, motor nerve damage and post-viral fatigue, self employed.
Judi: It was a very simple form, they were very helpful on the phone and actually everything was pretty well done for me, and all the way through they said can we help you with this, do you want this format or that format, they were very aware of my personal needs.
Narrator: Judi, dyslexia, CEO
Natasha: It just happened very very easily with a phone call, an assessment over the telephone, and a few forms filled in and actually checking criteria but it was a quite simple procedure, and when I spoke to people on the telephone initially they were very very professional,and went through all sorts of questions with me, and actually explained what would happen next, how long it would take, and in fact the approval came quite quickly.
Sue: Its not frightening, once you’ve made that initial phone call its all plain sailing really, and very quick. I was quite amazed at how quick the process was, and how easy. It does help if you understand your difficulties, and then you can explain them.
Teresa: You need to be prepared, I think you need to sit down and think about what it is you need in terms of help or assistance or equipment. I think you can call without any knowledge, but I think if you have thought about it then, you know, I think that helps Access to Work.
Narrator: Teresa, cerebral palsy, freelance photography assistant.
Sue: After I made contact with Access to Work, I was given a workplace assessment
Bill Fine: Alex, I’d just like you to use the machine normally, I know its difficult with somebody watching but I want to see how your hands use the kit, and how you use the kit at the moment, so just carry on as normally as you can please.
Bill Fine: There is a difficulty with assessments, sometimes, in that the word is used in other contexts, to mean scoring somebody, to assessing their ability or potential, a marks out of 10 process, and an assessment is certainly not that.
Narrator: Bill Fine, Access to Work assessor.
Bill Fine: We would always want people to know that an assessment is about empowering them as they are to be everything they wish to be and everything they can be.
Amanda: My issue with Access to Work was admitting that I was disabled.
Nasser: I was worried about the label ”disability”; I still am. I feel I am a fully able person but then the word is used to describe a condition and not you.
Narrator: Nasser, back pain, company director.
Enitan: Its something I would advise many people to actually go for, not to hide behind a facade, or to create an image that they are capable but to actually raise their disability and just say, OK, I need help and go for the help.
Natasha: I wouldn’t be able to achieve all that I have achieved without the support, you know, financially, of Access to Work because I certainly couldn’t have afforded to have done it.
Jilly: It enables me to work at the same level as an able bodied person and therefore enables me not to focus too much on my disabilities, thinking more about what I can do as opposed to what I can’t do.
Alex: Its brought me the ability to do my job, I would not be doing my job if it wasn’t for Access to Work and I’m eternally grateful to be honest.
Amanda: I would say that my life has improved, and I’d say the life of my family improved as well.
Sue: Its made my life so much better.
Narrator: For more information on Access to Work please call:
London, South East and the East of England
Wales, South West and Midlands
North of England and Scotland