Celebrations for Peterborough scheme which helps residents with disabilities find work

A programme which helps residents with learning disabilities stay in employment has been celebrating this week.

Peterborough’s Day Opportunities programme which provides support for people with learning disabilities to find employability is backing the powerful message of Learning Disability Work Week.

Patrick Donnelly

Patrick Donnelly

Learning Disability Work Week, run by the Mencap charity, celebrates the successes of people with a learning disability that have found paid employment and addresses some of the barriers and obstacles that stop others from finding work.

Currently, Mencap state just six per cent of people with a learning disability are in employment in the UK. The week, has shone a light on the issues and raise awareness of the positive steps that employers can take to make a difference.

Day Opportunities, managed by City College Peterborough, provides day and employment support to adults with learning disabilities and autism.

The programme supports more than 250 people across its four main Peterborough locations and in the community. Many of these people are looking for work, be it full-time, part-time or work experience.

Patrick Donnelly works part-time as a customer care assistant at a McDonalds branch in Peterborough. He found the role with the support of Day Opportunities. Patrick also spends time working in Day Opportunities’ Industrial Hub where people upcycle pallets and furniture and create crafted items.

Patrick said: “I love the job at McDonalds as I am out meeting people. My job is to make sure the customers are okay and clean the tables. I want to improve, I want to learn, and I hope to get extra hours in the future.”

Senior Day Opportunities Manager, Paul Mansfield, said: “When you ask the people we work with what they want to achieve with their lives then it usually would be to have a job.

“It is so satisfying to see the people we work with, often who have overcome many hurdles in their life, gain employment and develop their skills. It makes our job so worthwhile.

“Take Patrick, for example, his independence has significantly grown since being with Day Opportunities and he can’t wait to gain more experience and skills in the workplace.

“We find that jobs that involve repetitive tasks such as putting clothes on hangers or stacking items tend to best suit the people we work with.”

Other Peterborough businesses that provide opportunities to Day Opportunities’ supported people include Peterborough Cathedral, Iceland in Bretton, The Entertainer toy shop in Bridge Street, Wood Green Animal Shelter Charity Shop in Long Causeway, Sphere RHSM in Lynchwood, WestRaven café in Westwood, and New Ark City Farm in Peterborough.

Julie Bennett, Vice Principal – Day Opportunities and Innovation Pilot at City College Peterborough, added: “We would invite host employers to get in touch with us if they have job opportunities available. We have a dedicated team of staff who will be able to support at every stage of the recruitment process.”

Day Opportunities also runs micro-enterprises including a catering company, Royce Rolls, where supported people deliver buffets to companies hosting events across Peterborough. You can contact City College Peterborough’s Day Opportunities programme via Allison Valentine on

avalentine@citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk To find out more on Learning Disability Work Week visit https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-work-week or search for hashtag #HereIAm on social media channels.