The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Jane Cranston, visits leading Oxfordshire Wellbeing and Employment Support Service for UK Employability Day
On Friday, 14 July, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Jane Cranston visited OxForward, Oxfordshire’s leading Employment and Wellbeing Service for adults with a disability to celebrate UK Employability Day.
OxForward, run by leading employment specialists Kennedy Scott, in partnership with The Royal Mencap Society and Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity (OxSPA), marked the day with a tea party held at Wolvercote Young People’s Club in St Peter’s Rd.
OxForward is a wellbeing and employment service that offers jobseekers with a disability living in Oxfordshire a range of holistic support including CV and cover letter writing, courses and interview practice, activities to improve wellbeing and clubs to increase confidence and decrease social isolation.
Ruby, 21, is one of 400 people that OxForward has worked with. Ruby had previously never had paid employment. Having finished education four years ago, she was struggling to find work. She joined OxForward in February 2017, with the aim of improving her confidence, meeting new people and finding a job. Ruby joined in with centre activities like games club and group jobsearching sessions. She had support with interview skills and writing a professional, engaging CV. Ruby’s Caseworker arranged for her to do a volunteering placement with the OxForward centre, working as a Receptionist Administrator to increase her confidence and gain new skills and professional experience. Ruby has now found paid work as a Travel Buddy with a local self-advocacy organisation for people with a Learning Disability, which her Caseworker helped her to find. Ruby continues to help out at the OxForward centre and is enjoying the benefits of volunteering alongside employment.
The well-attended event celebrated with music, entertainment and sports activities including archery. An awards ceremony took place at the end of the day, following a games competition with prizes given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entrants. Attendees were able to see first-hand the support OxForward, commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council, provides to local people and the efforts of the Service Users they work with every day.
UK Employability Day is coordinated by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) and underlines the critical work that employment support providers do in helping to transform people’s lives, communities and businesses.
The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Jane Cranston, enjoyed meeting Service Users and joining in with the games. She said: “It is a real pleasure to see people with disabilities having such a good time. The work done at Oxforward is clearly much valued by the participants many of whom have made a considerable effort to get to Wolvercote from all over Oxford to be part of such a cheerful and entertaining event.” She added: “Huge fun, please invite me again!”
Kennedy Scott CEO, Teresa Scott, said: “The day proved to be very popular. It was great to see such a well-attended event, enjoyed by carers, service users, OxForward staff and members of the local community. The aim of the day was to demonstrate the fantastic work that OxForward is doing in the local area, celebrate the hard work of our Service Users and encourage even more people to sign up to the project, which we are happy to say we achieved.”
Angela Barnett, Quality and Contracts Officer, Oxfordshire County Council said: “The day was a thorough success. It was a great event for people to come together, have fun and learn about an important service. Everybody had a fantastic time and enjoyed the day.”
More details about OxForward are available online at http://www.kennedyscott.co.uk/oxforward.html.