Forth Sector provides a bridge to employment for people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities.
In 1981 founder Andy Hunter formed the Edinburgh Community Trust (ECT) with the aim of creating work for disadvantaged people. Andy understood that meaningful employment is important for mental health and social inclusion and recognised that people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities are typically excluded from mainstream jobs.
ECT became Forth Sector and over ensuing years has provided training, support and employment to some of the most disadvantaged people in society through its businesses.
Forth Sector operates real businesses where people receive training, support and work experience because this significantly increases their chances of getting and keeping a job.
Businesses include St Jude’s Laundry, a busy commercial laundry, which holds a Royal Warrant.
Eighty people are employed directly, 60% of whom have a mental health condition physical or learning disability. A further 400 people a year benefit from training, personal development and work experience in the businesses, with the aim of securing meaningful employment. In the process, their social inclusion, health and health can improve considerably, and their family and carers invariably benefit.
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Our beneficiaries have never found it easy to find a job. The economic downturn, public sector cuts and welfare reform have combined to create a perfect storm where finding meaningful employment is at best even more difficult and at worst impossible.
With the support of the Scottish Government, the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Social Investment Scotland and others, Forth Sector has created an employment and enterprise centre in Edinburgh’s Craigmillar area. The facility will allow our businesses to grow and new ones to be created. It offers state-of the art training and support facilities. The facility will directly employ around 120 people and support a further 1000 people a year through training and development.
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How do we do it?
At Duddingston Yards, Forth Sector’s headquarters and it’s employability and enterprise hub we have great resources to help clients back into work. Our Employability Services team can advise on work programmes, access to financial support for further training, as well as providing help in job applications, interview techniques and CV writing. There is also IT training for ECDL accreditation and basic computer skills. The IT suite is also used for job searching with access to free printing, postage and phone calls to potential employers.
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Our Social Enterprise business, (St Jude’s Laundry) moved to the Yards in March 2015, and it too provides an environment for supported employment and opportunities for work placements.
We also have connections with external businesses that can supply placement opportunities.
All profits from our businesses go back into those businesses in order for them to grow and benefit more clients by providing more places for work experience. Our goal is to get people with mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress back into the workplace. We build confidence and self-esteem and help people who are vulnerable back into work.
What your donation means
By donating, you are helping with the day to day running of the organisation, allowing us to invest in the resources from the basic right up to the complex machinery and IT software that allows us to provide the services which has been and is so crucial for those clients who are finding it difficult to get back to work.