Our work with social enterprise
At Livability Maesbury Metals, artists like Gavin, Mikey and Jonathan are creating something wonderful.
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What is Maesbury Metals?Livability Maesbury Metals is a social enterprise which supports people in making connections, learning new skills and building pathways to employment. The 12-14 attendees at Maesbury gain skills in metalwork and woodwork from experienced support staff, through designing and producing products to sell to the public.
Located on the Maesbury Road Industrial Estate, Maesbury Metals provides a place for adults to get work experience and feel part of a community, while producing items of real value. The team make metal planters, ornamental garden furniture and other bespoke decorative items. In woodwork, a variety of items are produced including storage solutions made from recycled pallets.
Maesbury joined the Livability family in January 2018, although it has been running for over 20 years. The service at Maesbury has a particular understanding of disability and mental health, with referrals into the service made by social services at Shropshire Council.
What is Cornerpatch?Cornerpatch is, like Maesbury Metals, a social enterprise that helps teach skills and build community through the creation of sellable products. Cornerpatch is a workshop and a shop, meaning that volunteers can learn both skills like sewing and also retail and management skills. This all helps better the wellbeing of the attendees and build pathways to employment.
The team at Cornerpatch produces a range of hand crafted gifts and interior décor including sewn items such as bunting and cushions, jewellery and gift boxes. The shop is in the heart of Oswestry. Cornerpatch also sells the products made at Maesbury Metals, meaning these two services have a strong partnership.
Cornerpatch has proved invaluable in building a strong sense of community, providing social interaction and learning opportunities for people in Oswestry.
Watch the filmMeet the people of Livability Maesbury Metals and the Cornerpatch. In this film, hear from them about what they love about the services and how they are supported.
Gavin’s story“I do all sorts here, like polishing up, woodwork, making table tops. I keep busy. With support, I’ve learned new skills. It’s nice – I like making stuff. We get customers coming in here. I feel proud when they want something we have made.
I made my girlfriend Mary-Beth a special present. It’s a metal sign. I wrote her name on it – it was a surprise. It’s special, for her. We’ve been together 12 years.
I love Maesbury Metals. We work as a team here – I have lots of friends. Everything is good – the work, my friends and the staff are very, very good.
My dad passed away last year - I have a twin sister, Jane. I share a flat with Pete. On Sundays, I see my girlfriend and we watch TV and have a coffee. I like playing table tennis, badminton and going swimming.
I’d be lost if I didn’t have this place [Maesbury].”
Mikey’s Story“This is my first year at Maesbury – I come four times a week. I worked in a warehouse for a kitchen firm for six and a half months. I have epilepsy and some people can be horrible to me, but I just got on with it.
I couldn’t get a job for quite a while. My fits are a problem. I found it very stressful and I felt rejected. I live in a little village [near Oswestry]. There’s nothing there. I know one person my age, from school.
My dad pushed me into coming here. He did welding and he gave me his welding mask. When I came here, I did my work assessment for welding. I enjoy it. I started making metal house numbers out of horseshoes. They sell them in the shop. I want to do letters next.
Janet [staff member] is perfect! She gives me advice. I love to work with Annie [welding teacher]. I can use the forge and get to try new things. I’ve made a shepherd’s crook. My confidence has grown. I want to say thanks to them for teaching me to weld.
I’m happier at Maesbury – I’ve made my dad proud. I get on with most of the lads here. We’re all like brothers – best mates. I didn’t really have any friends before. Martin became a friend - he comes and asks me if I can help him. I can help the others. Here is my community."
Jonathan’s Story“I do a bit of metalwork. At Christmas, we made snowmen out of horseshoes. And I do woodwork – we build shoe-racks and boxes for people’s orders. I learned from my dad – he passed away. I keep all his woodworking stuff and want to make him proud.
I come here five days a week. I like being busy and I like making good stuff. I stop what I’m doing and go and help other people. I learned that from my dad. I’m happy here – it’s good. I keep helping out and being nice to everyone.
I moved out of home to supported living. I live with four others – we’re like a family.
At the sports hall [local], I like to help people who are in wheelchairs. I understand a bit of what they say when people can’t talk. There’s a girl in a wheelchair who can make a noise – she’s still communicating. I can’t read or write. I use emoji’s on my phone.
I’ve got a lot to give. I’m doing good and I make friends.”
Janet’s StoryJanet is part of the staff at Livability Maesbury Metals, working as the Day Operations Manager.
“I open up first thing and get a cup of tea, get ready for everyone arriving. We have 12-14 men here, a lot of young guys, and several live in quite rural areas. They often come here when they leave college and can be pressured by the Job Centre to find any form of work but this can be a huge step for people. Some people need one to one support.
This is a real workplace on an industrial estate but here we can work closely with people and pick up where they are struggling. People here have learning disabilities and maybe behavioural issues. We’re not patronising here. Everyone is contributing and taking part.
We know Maesbury can have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing, sometimes because of what their family tells us. We have one gentleman who elects not to speak so we can’t really tell what he’s feeling. But his parents say he loves coming here and gets up super-early because he can’t get here quick enough.
We encourage people to buddy up and support each other. People find they are capable and their confidence grows. There’s a positivity about the people at Maesbury. This can be taken away from them if they’re in an environment which isn’t enabling and makes them feel they can’t achieve."
Stories from CornerpatchFlo says:
“I like helping out [at Cornerpatch]. I like to see my friends. I meet Mary [another service user] every Monday and Friday for cappuccino.. I’m cutting out squares today and ironing. I like trying new things. I think I can’t do something but then I try and I can do it.”
“It’s lovely and gorgeous here. It’s super. I like talking to customers. I like knitting. I’m more confident. I like everybody here. I see my friends. I come on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”
“I like being together. I like helping each other.”
Why work place skills help – tackling the disability employment gapServices like Maesbury Metals and The Cornerpatch enable people to benefit from better community connections, learn new skills and grow in confidence.
Isolation through unemploymentSupporting disabled people in vocational skills development is one of the vital ways in which we can tackle barriers and reduce isolation caused by unemployment.
Alongside day services like this, Livability delivers a wide range of employment and work place initiatives, supporting people in to employment or new vocational skills.
What is the disability employment gap?
- The disability employment gap can be defined as the difference in the employment rate of disabled people and non-disabled people. 210
- Between April and July 2017, the disability employment gap stood at 31.3%. 211
- Between April to June 2013 and April to June 2017, the number of disabled people in employment increased by around 596,000, an increase of 21%. 212
Disability and employment
- Between April and June 2017, there were 3.5 million disabled people of working age in employment, an employment rate of 49.2%.
- The employment rate for non-disabled people was 80.6%.
- The employment rate for disabled people was 1.3% higher in April-June 2017 than in the same period in 2016.
- Disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people.
- By the age of 26, disabled people are four times more likely to be out of work or not in education, compared to non-disabled people.
- Fewer than 50% of working-age disabled people are in work, compared to 75% of non-disabled people.
- The employment rate for disabled men is 50% and for disabled women the rate is 48.6%.
- Between April and June 2017, there were around two million disabled women in work and 1.5 million disabled men.
- Disabled people need to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before they are successful in finding work.
- More than 51% of job applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69% of non-disabled applications.