The workhelpline team at their stand at Naidax
Naidex 45 Highlights

We’ve been phenomenally busy due to our attendance at @NaidexShow which took place at the NEC Birmingham on 26th and 27th March 2019.  


The Start Ability Services team were delighted to be working alongside Debbie from Social Barriers Solutions, who as a previous client had benefitted from our support Work Helpline UK to set up her business. It was wonderful to personally meet Debbie for the first time, as we have had so many hours of telephone conversations and email conversations putting the world to rights! So, it was a sincere pleasure to be able to work alongside a dear friend and colleague for the first time to provide information and support to our stand visitors.


We also met Simon (Debbie’s husband), who was the most efficient handout distributor known to man, with the patience of a saint, and Sasha (Debbie’s beautifully behaved Guide Dog), who made a point of making sure we were all beautifully licked clean every morning and settled quietly on her bed, in spite of the hustle and bustle going on around her. Another colleague who came to our stand to say hello was the fabulous Jane Hatton from Evenbreak, who I met personally for the first time on Tuesday morning, despite having known and collaborated with Jane for over 8 years.


I also had the pleasure of catching up with many of our wonderful colleagues from the Disabled Entrepreneurs Network, including Mark Esho, Brad Francis from Brad Francis Media, Roland Chesters from Luminate and Alison Schofield from Disability Road Map. And on top of this, there were the many clients and colleagues who popped by to say hello as they have previously had our support from our links with Ehlers Danlos Support UK and people who we met for the first time last year, such as the innovator, Gavin Neate from Neatebox. It really was great to meet so many of you and we were so glad to hear of your personal and professional development. We also look forward to working with you in the future, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a query.


As well as the opportunity to meet so many people, there were a number of seminars to enjoy, which were wide ranging and generated a lot of interest at the Naidex Show. My own seminar was very well received, as it highlighted the use of coproduction to provide solution focussed support to keep disabled people and people with long term health conditions in work. However, I do have to say there were some hairy moments when Warwick Davis attracted such a large audience that our stand nearly collapsed! Fortunately, I had already left to prepare for the Employability Panel, otherwise they would not have had a Chair as I would have been stuck.


The Panel made for a fabulous debate, as the panellists challenged the many stereotypical ideas held about employing disabled people. Jane Hatton from Evenbreak, Anna Bird from Scope, Samuel Ridyard from Genius Within CIC and Shani Dhanda also highlighted the many advantages, opportunities and business benefits of increasing the presence of disabled employees in the workplace. My thanks go to them all for making my job as Chair so easy.


But as well as the information and debates available to people, the Naidex Show is known for the phenomenal range of products available! We were particularly impressed with:

  •          the potential of the wheelchairs available Beyond the Boundary Wheelchairs to support our clients in their workplace;
  •          the shoe and sock range available at Cosyfeet, that provides comfortable alternatives for disabled people who have swollen legs or feet, or who may need to accommodate bracing or bandages into their footware;
  •          the vast range of lifts available at Lewis Reed Group to wheelchair users who need to travel in a wheelchair accessible vehicle; and
  •           REACT technologies who enable visually impaired people to live more independent lives by developing systems to support independent journeys.


It was also really good to know that we were represented alongside other services that would be useful to our colleagues and clients. A small sample of this representation included stands for:

  •          Brian Barr Solicitors who provide personal legal services to people with chronic pain;
  •          Remap UK, who are a national charity that works through local groups of skilled volunteers to make equipment for disabled people that is designed specifically for their individual needs; and
  •          Burning Nights CRPS Support, which is a UK charity working to improve life for all those affected by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Indeed, the charity is called “Burning Nights” due to the intense burning pain that is experienced by people with CRPS.


Finally, a big shout out to Alison Schofield for the beautiful flowers and Zella the Zebra Stone to highlight awareness of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and the representatives of Aurigny Healthcare who helped me to find appropriate padding for my reclining wheelchair that finally helps me to feel comfortable! I can’t thank you enough for listening and assisting me to find a more permanent solution to my persistently sore elbows, forearms and calves.


As they say in cartoons, “That’s all folks”! Hope to see you at Naidex 46.



Peace and Prosperity: Wishing you a happy holiday season
Office Closure Dates

Our offices will be closed from 6:30 pm on Wednesday 19th December until Thursday 3rd January 2019. 

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best for the festive season from everyone at Work Helpline UK.  

Lord Sugar from The Apprentice
The Apprentice – Could you be the next big thing?

Never thought The Apprentice was for you?

Think again, anyone can have a seed of an idea and become an entrepreneur, you just need the backing.  If you apply to The Apprentice 15, that seed could become a fully-fledged and funded business!   The winning candidate will receive an investment of up to £250,000 and will go into a 50:50 partnership with Lord Sugar.  Lord Sugar has already invested over £2,000,000 in business start-ups through The Apprentice.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to impress Britain’s toughest backer, go to the BBC Website for details on how to apply.

Applications open 15th November.  Auditions will be happening across the country throughout the month of February 2019.

Go on, show us what you’ve got!

Boundless is the production company that produces “The Apprentice” for broadcast by the BBC. We welcome applications from people with long term health conditions and impairments. We will ensure any reasonable adjustments are considered in the application process and filming of the programme.

Boundless – Part of Fremantle

Naidex 45, 26th and 27th March 2019 at the NEC Birmingham. Register for your free tickets link
Come and join us at Naidex 45

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be partnering with Naidex, Europe’s largest event for the disability and independent living sector, again in 2019.



Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the show will take place on the 26th & 27th March at Birmingham’s NEC, and we’d love for you to join us at the show by grabbing your FREE ticket here!



Get ready to see the latest in assistive technology, mobility products, accessible traveling, living aids and more! There will be over 250 seminars covering a wide variety of topics such as employability, mental health, fashion and rehabilitation amongst others.



You’ll also get the opportunity to hear from our very own Kath Sutherland about how our methods of coproduction can resolve the difficulties that disabled people and people with long term health conditions face.



Take part in the event’s interactive features by trying out new activities in the Live Sports Arena, and find the best fit for your needs on the Mobility Test Track.



So don’t miss out, register for your free ticket now and witness the future of independent living!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Can you help?
We want your success stories!

We would love to hear from you if you have benefited from the service we provide.  We’re hoping that we can then highlight that disabled people and people with long term health conditions are not only able to successfully work in their chosen career, but that it is possible to thrive in the world of work, if they are given the information that they need, and appropriate adjustments are made.

In this way, we can collectively assist other disabled people and people with long term health conditions to feel that they can move forward in the world of work. It will also showcase the fact that often work-related issues for anyone with an impairment can be resolved with appropriate and effective support that looks at and removes the barriers that people face in the changing world of work.

If you feel you could help with this, we would appreciate it if you could provide us with a short statement of what support you needed and how we have been able to assist you. Whether you would like to write a few lines or 2 pages of A4 (maximum), please also provide your job description and impairment. For example, newly qualified teacher with a visual impairment seeking first job; self-employed florist with increasing mobility difficulties and unstable diabetes; young person with dyslexia seeking a plumbing apprenticeship; care assistant with chronic pain syndrome in right hand; etc.

We look forward to receiving your emails! However, if you would like to contribute but find writing difficult, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to arrange to assist you.

Naidex 44 are proud to partner with the ADP
ADP looks forward to another successful year at Naidex!

The ADP are proud to have partnered with Naidex for yet another year. 

Naidex, Europe’s most exciting disability and independent living event will return to the NEC Birmingham on the 25th & 26th April for an incredible (and unrecognisable!) 44th edition. The 2017 show smashed all expectations, re-establishing Naidex as a hub of innovation, but 2018 promises to exceed anything you’ve seen before…

With an increased floor plan of 300 international exhibitors, a comprehensive agenda of 200 fully CPD accredited seminars, 1-2-1 advice, live demos, and new features dedicated solely to healthcare professionals, Naidex is absolutely unmissable – and it’s free!

As well as exhibiting at the event, Kath Sutherland is holding a seminar on the barriers that disabled people face in the workforce. So don’t forget to register for your FREE ticket to attend via the website by clicking here

You’ll find us on stand 7270 and we’d love to meet you there!

Social Care Award 2018 for Best Independent Living Support Enterprise
START Ability Services acknowledged in prestigious awards

The START Ability Services team are delighted to announce that they have been awarded the title of Best Independent Living Support Enterprise in this year’s Social Care Awards.

According to Global Health and Pharma, the 2018 Social Care Awards have been designed to give recognition to the individuals, teams and companies who show the highest levels of innovation, compassion and courage in one of the most important, yet challenging industries.

Kath Sutherland, Equalities Consultant and Founder of the organisation commented:  “We are honoured to receive this award in recognition of our work to remove the barriers, to participation in society, that people with impairments face .   START Ability Services has always endeavoured to ensure that disabled people and people with long term health conditions are given accessible and appropriate information and support in order that they are able to make informed decisions about their own lives.  We have also always believed in the principles of co-production, as providing support, training and information to the professionals who support people with impairments is vital in order that integrated services and available resources can be effectively used to meet their needs.  My thanks go out to our dedicated staff team and volunteers who have supported START Ability to make such a significant difference in people’s lives”.

Social Care Award 2018 for Best Disability Business Support Provider
ADP wins award for second year running!

The Association of Disabled Professionals has been successful in gaining a Social Care Award; this year being awarded the Best Disability Business Support Provider 2018.

Jane Hunt, Chair of the ADP, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive yet another award for our work from the prestigious Global Health and Pharma Social Care Awards.  ADP was really pleased to win this award for its innovative work advice service in 2017 when we were awarded the Best Disadvantaged Career Development Specialists.  To have now won the Social Care Awards for a second year running, and receive the title of Best Disability Business Support Provider, is a phenomenal tribute to our small team of volunteers and their dedication and hard work.”

Nathan Angell, Awards Co-ordinator, commented, “GHP Magazine showcases the achievements of the outstanding services and innovation within the field of social care to celebrate the industry’s best and bravest…  As with all our awards, the 2018 Social Care Awards are purely based upon merit. To ensure this, our in-house research team went in-depth, leaving no stone unturned, to find those most deserving acknowledgement for their outstanding performances. Winners of this award can rest assured that their win was one that was truly based on accomplishments and performance.”

Kath Sutherland at the SCIE webinar on Intermediate care
Have you heard about our work with Health and Social Care Professionals?

Many of you may have heard our very own Kath Sutherland, speaking at various events around the country or indeed on the radio.  But did you know that Kath is also involved in a number of events for both the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and in her work as a member of the Co-production, Equality and Human Rights Steering Committee for SCIE (the Social Care Institute for Excellence)?

One example of this was Kath’s involvement in the Intermediate Care Guideline, and a subsequent Quick Guide, where she was able to highlight the importance of working alongside individuals to  co-produce support plans and to consider people’s access and support needs, as well as their aspirations and wishes, throughout any intermediate care process.

There’s also a webinar where Kath, along with Dee Christie (who was Chair of the Guideline Committee) shared their knowledge of the guideline and explained the key principles of delivering effective Intermediate Care.  Their presentation was followed by a discussion with the audience, who were invited to submit questions.  This was followed by an overview of the support that NICE offers to the social care sector for guideline implementation from Chris Connell (the Associate Director of NICE Field Team – South – Health and Social Care Directorate).

All Party Parliamentary Group Logo
The ADP asked to contribute to All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into Access to Work

Due to our expertise in the support of disabled entrepreneurs, we were invited to contribute to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Business Networks Roundtable.  This was devised in an attempt to specifically examine the needs of disabled people in terms of business networks.

Although we knew that we were unable to be physically present at the event, Kath Sutherland was able to remotely deliver a 10 minute speech, as our contribution to the discussions.  In this short speech, the many complexities of barriers that disabled people in business face was brought to everyone’s attention.  Indeed, we were able to highlight the fact that mainstream business support networks were placing disabled people at a considerable disadvantage in terms of accessible training or networking opportunities.

Additionally, we raised the issue that many disabled people and people with long term health conditions also face difficulties when trying to get relevant and accessible information, advice and support.   This then led to us addressing the importance of individually tailored support, as there were significant issues for disabled people when they were trying to navigate complex systems and their interactions, such as Access to Work, the Permitted Work Rules or the benefit system.

If you would like to read more about the issues we raised, you can download the transcript of Kath’s speech here.