Lewisham brewery seek employees with learning difficulties

Ignition Brewery receives NCIL funding. Pic: Louis Hansel

A brewery is looking hire people with learning difficulties after receiving funding from Lewisham council.

Ignition Brewery which is based in Sydenham, is the latest community project to obtain funding from the council’s Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy fund.

The brewery will be working in collaboration with Lewisham Mencap, a local charity benefitting people with learning disabilities and their carers.

Together, the pair are aiming to “secure employment opportunities for local residents with learning disabilities”, while also “encouraging inclusive employment practices” across the borough.

In an interview with Lewisham council, Nick O’Shea, one of the directors of Ignition, emphasised the brewery’s desire “to create meaningful jobs for people with learning disabilities that pay the London Living Wage”.

“Our project will create training opportunities, secure qualifications required for employment, and create enterprises… which will create jobs and make great products.”

Figures from Lewisham’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment estimate that there are approximately 5400 adults in Lewisham living with a learning disability.

“Nationally, 94% of people with learning disabilities are unemployed,” O’Shea said. “This is a waste of their talent and potential… we have identified a significant need for more employment and enterprise opportunities across Lewisham for people with learning disabilities.”

“With Lewisham due to become Borough of Culture in 2022, this is a great time for us to promote and showcase the talents of people with learning disabilities in the borough.”

O’Shea finished by encouraging local people and businesses to help create equal employment opportunities: “Please get involved. The more popular our products, the more jobs we create. If you are an employer looking for reliable staff who are great with customers, talk to us about how we could find you a new team member.”

The NCIL is a “community funding programme that uses money collected from developers.

Councillor Kim Powell said: “I am very proud that we are funding such a diverse range of projects. From tackling youth violence to supporting people with learning disabilities, these initiatives will help thousands of local residents across Lewisham.”

Lewisham council have committed to funding 25 community projects from the fund, with £900,000 being invested and “an additional £260,000 secured in match funding”. Organisations wishing to apply can find all of the currently open funds here.

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