A Jennyruth Workshops volunteer has travelled to Macedonia to take part in a peer-to-peer exchange and demonstrate how adults with learning disabilities in Ripon can gain confidence through work experience.
David Plummer, 68, from North Stainley, travelled to Macedonia at the end of October to help civil society leaders in the council find sustainable employment for people faced with disabilities.
Euclid Network, in Macedonia, contacted Jennyruth Workshops – based at Bridge Hewick, near Ripon – as it specialises in helping adults with learning disabilities gain independence and life skills .
Jennyruth Workshops produces and sells a range of high quality everyday products and workers are trained on numeracy, literacy, computers and communication skills.
Mr Plummer has worked at Jennyruth Workshops for two years and said it was “inspirational” to see adults learning new skills and being able to transfer the idea to a different country.
He said: “I was sent to Macedonia to give these civil society leaders support and helped provide support for children with learning difficulties.
“There is no support for individuals with learning difficulties in the country. I went out there and met the managers who care for 25 adults with learning difficulties and give them meaningful work.
“We teach them skills and get them into the community, all the things that we do in this country but they just don’t have the resources to do it in Macedonia.
“I also worked with them on improving things they were currently doing while helping to complete forms for a grant. They just need to find a way of generating funds to make them more sustainable.”
Euclid Network launched a competition in Macedonia and nine finalists were selected.
Mr Plummer shared his skill knowledge and experience to advance their proposals for creating new jobs for adults with learning disabilities.
Euclid Network said Jennyruth Workshops’ experience in the professional integration for those with disabilities would support the sustainable social enterprise to refine their ideas and “develop an effective and sustainable social business for the community”.
Mr Plummer said: “The work we do is probably more important in Macedonia because there is nowhere else for those with disabilities to go.
“We have got to generate their confidence. Over the last few years we have tried to get people to see the work we are doing because it is inspirational.”