Supported business shows how a ‘diverse workforce brings innovation to the workplace’

Cornwall Council owned Tremorvah Industries, based in Threemilestone, boasts a diverse workforce with 70 per cent of them having a registered disability.

Tremorvah is the only supported business in Cornwall and is one of less than 50 across the whole of the UK. It delivers employment, development and training opportunities for people with disabilities and to help them, whenever possible, into mainstream employment.

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Supported businesses receive funding from the Department of Work and Pensions but this is only 5% of Tremorvah’s income. Tremorvah used to rely on the Council for funding but this has now changed with the business now subsidy free from the council and generating income, with an annual turnover of around £2.5 million.

Diana Lobb, General Manager of Tremorvah Industries said: “We want to challenge perceptions of supported businesses and the employment of staff with disabilities.

“We aim to add real value to the local community while showing that people with disabilities have valuable transferable skills and a resilience that makes them hugely valuable employees.”

Latest data shows that an estimated 3.8 million people of working age with disabilities are in employment, an employment rate of 50.7 per cent, compared to 81.1 per cent for people without disabilities. That means 368,000 people with disabilities of working age are unemployed.

One of the main things you’ll notice when you walk into Tremorvah’s showroom is a massive range of equipment and furniture that supports people to live independently in their own home. The lived experiences of the staff mean they’re ideally placed to advise people on the sorts of equipment that will suit their needs.

Customer service manager Julie Kinney from Truro reflected on how she came to work at Tremorvah: “Coming to work at Tremorvah I was given the chance to grow and shown what I was capable of. It took the pressure off and actually halted my illness.

“You’re able to talk to customers on the same level because you know what they’re going through. It’s really rewarding seeing the difference you can make to someone’s life.”

Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Adults Rob Rotchell said: “It’s important to remember that we are all individuals with different skills and abilities who all bring different experiences to the work place.

“Tremorvah’s business model proves that with the right support and work environment people can flourish and succeed which in turn can show huge rewards for the business.”

Posted on 7 February