Realise Futures #WhyNot campaign poster

Realise Futures asks #WhyNot employ disabled people?

Disability and learning skills specialist Realise Futures has launched a campaign aimed at boosting the number of people with disabilities into work in the East of England.

The #WhyNot – Why Not Employ Disabled People – campaign is calling for greater awareness of the real benefits of employing people with disabilities – including better staff retention, production and lower recruitment costs.

The Ipswich-based social enterprise has well-established expertise in helping employers in Suffolk and Essex recruit valued employees with disabilities and supporting individuals with disabilities into work. Employers include John Lewis, Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee.

It also runs six commercial businesses in Suffolk, including cafes and plant centres and a wholefood shop, which provide real jobs for people with disabilities and/or disadvantages. More than 40% of its workforce have disabilities.

Realise Futures has created a video to promote what employers are missing out on and how the company can support them:

The unemployment rate for people with a disability (April – June 2019) was 7.3% , compared to an unemployment rate of 3.4% for people without disabilities, according to government figures.* A survey by the charity Leonard Cheshire** found a quarter of employers (24%) said they would be less likely to employ someone with a disability, with 66% citing the cost of workplace adjustments as a barrier.

But, Realise Futures says many employers do not realise they can access full funding to pay for adjustments required. There are many other benefits employers can gain and the company is keen for business owners to contact them to find out how they can boost productivity, cut costs and boost their reputation by employing disabled people.

Realise Futures Managing Director Sally ButcherManaging Director Sally Butcher said: “There is a lack of awareness of what’s involved in employing a person with a disability, such as autism or Asperger’s, but there’s plenty of evidence from employers we have supported who are delighted with their employees, and the great qualities they bring to their company.

“As a business, we have many years’ experience of matching disabled employees with jobs, either within our own social businesses or externally. What we are trying to do is to inform employers about the many benefits to be gained. For example, disabled people become your customers – the total spending power of families with at least one disabled person is estimated to be worth £249 billion*** a year.

“Our own experience shows that employees with a disability have less time off work, are dedicated and loyal. Employers we work with say their employees are hardworking and reliable. Employers looking to promote diversity in the workplace can also benefit and enhance their reputation with their commitment to equal opportunities.

“We can help employers right through the process and support them with any worries or issues they may have. They will see that the benefits far outweigh any perceived disadvantages. We welcome calls from employers considering employing someone with a disability.”

Employers are encouraged to contact Realise Futures on 01473 242500 or email [email protected]g.


*People with disabilities in employment by Andrew Powell. Briefing Paper, 2 October 2019
** Leonard Cheshire disability facts and figures
***Scope