08/05/2003

Disability Action launches business support scheme

Northern Ireland charity, Disability Action has launched a scheme aimed at helping local businesses make their employment practices and services more accessible to people with disabilities.

With 18 months to go until the final sections of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) are in place, Disability Action is keen to introduce as many companies as possible to its Business Support Scheme. The scheme is supported by Invest NI and several leading Northern Ireland companies have already become members.

Commenting on the new scheme, Monica Wilson Chief Executive of Disability Action urged the Northern Ireland business community take part. She added: "Membership of our Business Support Scheme will help local businesses comply with their legal obligations and at the same time make an impact amongst the one in five people in our population with a disability.

"It is imperative that companies look at their recruitment practices, check access to the workplace and give employees the confidence to deal with disability issues. This is where our expertise comes in."

The Disability Action Business Support Scheme can help companies with a range of issues including: advice on access including a premises audit, staff training in disability awareness, an audit of communications materials and advice on accessible formats and advice on policy and procedures.

On signing up to the scheme companies will be awarded a certificate to acknowledge their efforts and once all stages have been completed a special plaque is available to show customers, suppliers and staff that the company is proactive in managing accessibility and diversity.

With than one in five (300,000) people in Northern Ireland having a disability the charity needs to raise £500,000 each year to stay in the province.

Disability Action has regional offices in Belfast, Carrickfergus, Dungannon, Londonderry and Newry.

(MB)

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