The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has approved a grant of more than R200,000 to help fund non-profit organisation The Workbench Centre,with their efforts to help those with disabilities. The Workbench Centre has been offering protective employment to persons living with disabilities since 1984.
“We employ 51 people with intellectual and or physical disabilities,” centre manager Shirley Gunuza said. “Most of our beneficiaries have virtually no prospect of finding employment in the open labour market, but thrive in this supportive environment .
“Without this option, they will be exposed to many social ills such as vulnerability to financial and sexual abuse and substance abuse. Gunuza said the funds would be used for, among other things, maintenance of the organisation’s vehicle that is used to transport 80% of their beneficiaries, the building of a perimeter wall for security purposes and to increase the stipends paid to beneficiaries.
“The Workbench Centre’s Protective Workshops provide beneficiaries with a protective, safe place of employment. “We provide continued education and training, occupational therapy, transport and give unemployed people a chance to earn a much needed income,” she said.
For many beneficiaries, the centre acts as a gateway to further services such as primary health care and referrals to specialist services. “Students who are in training and require
practical placement also benefit because they are allowed to complete their practicals by working within the disability sector,” Gunuza said.
“Families of persons with disabilities benefit from family support services, respite service and accessing information.”
The centre’s policy is to accommodate the skill levels of each worker and, where necessary,
include them in an occupational activity group that also allows time for exercise, handcraft and other activities.
The department of social development acts as the centre’s main funder, with money received covering basic administrative and equipment costs, as well as stipends