Last week was World Autism Awareness Week, which is an important campaign to help raise awareness about autism. To mark the occasion I visited Café Track in the Market Square, Northampton which helps some 40-50 people on the autistic spectrum.
In early January this year Café Track was opened by a local businessman as a ‘social enterprise’ meaning that any profits from the business would be placed back into the business in order to enable them to help autistic people into employment.
I visited the Café to talk to the owner and see first-hand the great work being done. The Café supports many autistic staff and also works with local businesses to understand the value of autistic employees and ensure businesses are aware of their needs.
It is great news that the employment rate for people with disabilities has never been higher. However there is still a lot more to be done and social enterprises like Café Track do a great job in bridging the gap and challenging the harmful stereotypes of people with disabilities in the workplace. I have long supported helping people with disabilities into work, including personally sponsoring a Disability Confident event in Northampton which was designed to encourage local businesses to hire and to see the value in employees who are disabled or have a health condition (https://www.michaelellis.co.uk/news/michael-opens-disability-confident-event-northampton). I have also supported Brookside Day Centre with their own Disability Confident scheme (https://www.michaelellis.co.uk/news/michael-supports-local-disability-confident-scheme). I will continue to support similar schemes where I can.