Forth Sector provides a bridge to employment for people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities.
In 1981 founder Andy Hunter formed the Edinburgh Community Trust (ECT) with the aim of creating work for disadvantaged people. Andy understood that meaningful employment is important for mental health and social inclusion and recognised that people with mental health conditions, physical or learning disabilities are typically excluded from mainstream jobs.
ECT became Forth Sector and over ensuing years has provided training, support and employment to some of the most disadvantaged people in society through its businesses.
Forth Sector operates St Jude’s Laundry, a real, commercial business where people receive training, support and work experience because this significantly increases their chances of getting and keeping a job.
St Jude’s Laundry, which holds a Royal Warrant, has recently received a lot of investment to facilitate the move to a new, purpose-built and state of the art Laundry.
More than ninety people are employed directly, 60% of whom have a mental health condition physical or learning disability. A further 400 people a year benefit from training, personal development and work experience in the businesses, with the aim of securing meaningful employment. In the process, their social inclusion, health and health can improve considerably, and their family and carers invariably benefit.
Duddingston Yards, the buildings and facilities themselves, are now part of the income generation plans of Forth Sector. We currently rent out four of our business units to tenants, contributing to our aim of a zero-cost facility for our charitable activities.
Our beneficiaries have never found it easy to find a job. The economic downturn, public sector cuts and welfare reform have combined to create a perfect storm where finding meaningful employment is at best even more difficult and at worst impossible.
With the support of the Scottish Government, the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Social Investment Scotland and others, Forth Sector has created an employment and enterprise centre in Edinburgh’s Craigmillar area. The facility will allow our businesses to grow and new ones to be created. It offers state-of the art training and support facilities
The facility will directly employ around 120 people and support a further 1000 people a year through training and development.
Published on Nov 30, 2012
With research suggesting a typical charity is providing more services despite seeing its income shrink, the Third Sector is doing more with less. The current economic climate could therefore appear to have made charities more efficient, but does it make them more effective?
Jane Whitworth, Project Manager (Scotland) for the Cranfield Trust.
Mike Finlayson, – Chief Executive, Forth Sector.
Jayne Stuart, Director, WEA Scotland.
David Dunsire, Head of Charity Law Team, Tods Murray in the chair