Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Supported by: James Hallam Ltd


The Charity was established in 1964 when the founders identified that many adults with disabilities did not have any opportunity to learn work and life skills and, because of this, had no chance to gain the confidence and skills needed for employment. This essentially confined them to a life without independence, limiting them to have total dependency on their families and any additional state benefits and affecting their overall quality of life.

The prime focus of WSW remains the same today - they have an established programme to educate and train adults with a range of disabilities, in order to improve their lives and make them feel part of their community. This education is in Work Experience, Life Skills and Independent Living Skills. Additionally, they provide direct and paid employment for disabled people, in a safe and social environment. This ‘earning a wage’ outcome is of enormous benefit to service users, increasing their self-esteem and learning money management skills required for independent living.

Unlike some other traditional work therapy centres, WSW fulfil genuine commercial contracts for a wide range of businesses, large and small. They offer services such as product packaging, retail re-work, assembly, component kits and light manufacturing functions, some of which are time critical, but all of which need to be performed to a high consumer standard. All of this work is carried out under strict management and supervision from their workshop and training centre facility.

Another part of the WSW work is their pure Education Project. It is sadly the case that many service users have not had the best of experiences in their early years and school life, so can lack the basic skills that we all take for granted. Here they teach traditional subjects such as numeracy, literacy, handwriting, English, money management, CV writing, IT skills for the office and beyond, to name but a few, under the heading of Life Skills. In addition, they also teach pure independent living skills. This is all the more essential to give service users and their parents/guardians the confidence to lead a fuller, less dependent and more meaningful life. The service users will, as a result, be more fully integrated into society and have improved feelings of confidence and self-esteem. Under this heading they teach personal hygiene, housekeeping, cooking, how to use domestic appliances and more.

It can take years of hard work and energy to make a permanent difference. WSW are efficient and effective with every penny that they receive in donations, however, every year there is a funding gap which they need to fill and an ever-growing demand for their services. To help bridge this gap they need to take on more paid commercial contracts within the production area, but this is constrained by the workshop floor area and the need to keep this open and accessible as well as striking the balance between the commercial area and the ever-important training facilities.

So, our application to the Aviva Community Fund is for help with the funding of a mezzanine floor area in the Workshop, as well as the equipment necessary to make this accessible to all service users. The workshop building is modern and lofty and WSW have been granted a lifetime lease from Watford Borough Council. As such, any investment in the building facilities would most definitely be a long-term one and make a direct and immediate difference to the Workshop capacity and ultimately the number of people it can accommodate and help through both the Workshop and Training activities. Initial quotes suggest the cost of a suitable and accessible mezzanine area would be in the region of £25,000, plus around £10,000 for an appropriate lift, to ensure that all service users are able to access all areas.

Project Video

Watford Sheltered Workshop Limited

Moment of Pride

Watford Workshop play a vital part in an individual’s transition into unsupported employment within a mainstream workplace. They are making a big difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable and too often forgotten and neglected members of our community.

Location: Watford