Brighter Futures Workshops, based in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire is the latest social enterprise to win a Big Society Award.
The organisation helps young, disabled and disadvantaged people gain life skills and independence by recycling mobility equipment which is then sold to those in need.
The workshop enhances the lives of people with disadvantages and disabilities by teaching hands-on and useful skills. Those involved in the scheme refurbish donated and discarded mobility equipment, which is then sold to those who need it. The new skills help trainees build more self-confidence while reducing the levels of isolation that people who are disadvantaged or disabled often feel, while at the same time providing equipment to those who need it at a lower cost.
BFW also helps to reduce the amount of mobility equipment destined for landfill - including wheel-chairs, power chairs, scooters, and fully-functional hospital beds by recycling them in the workshop and returning the equipment back into the community.
The organisation, which opened in 2005 with three part time employees and two trainees, has now grown to include 16 full time employees, and 18 trainees, winning over 10 international national and regional awards, including England’s Best Small Social Enterprise and UK’s Best Social Enterprise. Their ‘can do’ approach wins them much repeat business, as well as plenty of goodwill from suppliers and clients.
Since commencement accomplishments have included:
- helping over 1000 disabled people regain or retain mobility, ensuring independence
- helped train 130 young people achieve over 1000 AQA certificates
- recycled over 7,000 items of mobility equipment of otherwise discarded pieces of mobility equipment saving them from landfill
- provided over 3,500 day-training places
- raised over £2 million for the charity
Brighter Futures also acts as a supplier of community prescription equipment as well as Motability agents for scooters and power chairs, and also offer services including breakdown and emergency call out, cost-effective servicing of mobility equipment, contract servicing for other mobility equipment suppliers and manufacturers.
Commenting on the award Prime Minister David Cameron said:
I’m delighted to see the fantastic work of Brighter Futures Workshops being recognised with a well-deserved Big Society Award. The work they do in their community to improve mobility for people with disabilities, while supporting disadvantaged young people is something to celebrate.
By providing training in practical skills Brighter Futures is helping young people who are disabled or disadvantaged to realise their potential and help boost their self-confidence. These skills are put to great use in recycling vital equipment which helps improve mobility and sense of independence to others with disabilities. I wish them every success in the future.
Peter Cousins MBE and founder of Brighter Futures Workshop said:
We are enormously proud of all our hardworking staff members and the individuals we serve who enable more and more of those with disabilities to gain independence.; from the 82-year-year old man who is now able to get his own newspaper for the first time in 11 years because the social enterprise sold him an affordable scooter to the lady who needed a wheelchair to attend a family funeral and was given one for free even though it normally takes 12 weeks for the initial wheelchair assessment. These stories amongst many drive our team of volunteers and staff.
We are thrilled to be recognised by the Prime Minister for our efforts, and awards like this enable more people with disabilities to be aware of our services and gain access to our recycled equipment.