A Melton man who suffers from cerebral palsy is being featured in a short film as part of a brand new initiative which aims to help people with disabilities to find paid employment.
Despite the difficulties caused by the neurological condition - that affects his movement and co-ordination - and instead of sitting around waiting for an opportunity, proactive Jon Lowe (26) has been volunteering at the Rainbows shop in Sherrard Street for over a year.
As a result of the condition - which affects one in 400 people in the UK - Jon’s muscles can stiffen, making it difficult for him to do any strenuous physical work. He also has mild learning difficulties.
Since leaving university in 2012 Jon has struggled to find a permanent paid job, despite having GCSEs, A-Levels and a degree in health studies and psychology.
The new initiative launched by Remploy - who try to bridge the gap between the businesses and disabled people – creates video CVs for people to help them get across their skills, personality and experience to potential employers.
Jon said: “Being unemployed is not fun, it’s boring. The more volunteer work I can do the better. It gives me something to do and focus on. I get to work on the till, which increases my IT skills, and serve customers to improve my communication. It’s a really nice place to work, the customers and my colleagues are all really friendly.”
He added: “Because of my cerebral palsy, travel is big issue. I can’t drive so I’m limited in terms of the jobs I apply for because I need to work around public transport and bus timetables. The Rainbows shop is close to where I live, so it’s perfect for me to get to.”
The Rainbows shop raises vital funds for the Loughborough-based Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. The hospice is the only one of its kind in the East midlands and provides vital care and support for children with terminal and life-limiting conditions, as well as their families.
Jon said: “Volunteering at the Rainbows shop is great because I know I’m helping such a worthwhile charity. My goal is to some day use the skills gained from working here to help me in a paid role.”
Mark Frisby, mental health and employment advisor for Remploy, said, “Jon is a fantastic candidate. He’s an incredibly popular character, exceptionally good with people and his communication skills are fantastic.
“The idea of this video diary is that it’s another stepping stone to help showcase these skills to potential employers.”
Lucinda Hardy, manager of Melton’s Rainbows shop, said: “Jon is a very hard worker and is always keen to learn. He’s a great asset to the team and always fun to have around. This new scheme is a great way to show potential employers what he has to offer.”
Rainbows are keen to recruit more volunteers to help in their shops. Volunteers will undertake various tasks to help them gain new skills to add to their CVs and can even be provided with a reference when they get an interview.
For more about volunteering at Melton’s Rainbows shop, simply pop in and speak to a member of staff. Alternatively, you can visit www.rainbows.co.uk