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Government launches multi-million pound fund to tackle disability employment gap


By Valeria Fiore
17 July 2018

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Health bodies and organisations from any sectors are being invited to apply for a grant to support people with disability to stay in work.

The £4.2m fund was launched by the minister for disabled people, health and work, Sarah Newton, and the minister for mental health and inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price, and is aimed at supporting around twenty different initiatives across England, Scotland and Wales.

Organisations have until 5pm on 17 August 2018 to apply for the funding.

Successful bidders will start carrying out their initiatives in the period from early October 2018 until February 2020.

Why did the Government launch this challenge fund?

The Government’s goal is to see an extra million disabled people in work by 2027.

There were 3.7 million people of working age (16-64) with disabilities in employment in January-March 2018, according to figures by the Office for National Statistics.

However, 376,000 people with disabilities of working age were unemployed at that time.

The challenge fund is run by independent research and consultancy company Rocket Science on behalf of the Government.

The financial support will allow organisations to deliver a range of ‘test and learn’ initiatives to help them understand what works in supporting people who are at risk of falling out of work.

Minister for mental health and inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price said: ‘This fund will help people overcome the barriers that so many still face when trying to get into and progress in the workplace.’

The initiatives that it will fund will help people stay in work by:

  • Helping them to self-manage their conditions
  • Enable them to access guidance about what sort of work they might be capable of doing

Minister for disabled people, health and work Sarah Newton said: ‘We know there is a gap between disabled people who want to work and those who have the opportunity to do so.

‘With 78% of people acquiring their disability or health condition during their adult life, it’s crucial that we support disabled people who want to work to stay in or return to employment.’

How can you apply?

You can apply by visiting the Work and Health Challenge Fund – Application Portal.

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