Disability support service cut

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CONCERNS have been raised over cuts to a service which helped hundreds of people with learning disabilities into work.

The Suffolk Training and Employment Partnership (Step) enabled those in need to access training and support and aided more than 500 people in gaining paid work.

However, Suffolk County Council has reduced the scheme as much of its work is now being delivered by the Jobcentre and other organisations.

The reduction has saved the authority £90,000.

However, the move has met with unease from those who used the service and charity bosses.

Wendy Rees, of the Vinefields, Bury St Edmunds, praised Step for helping her secure her job as an admin assistant.

The 46-year-old, who has dyspraxia, said: “Without them I would not have had the confidence to even walk into the building. They enabled me to take that step and gave me the initial support I needed.

“They continued to help me understand any correspondence I received such as letters and wage slips.

“I was lucky to have this service available to me but what about other people with learning disabilities? They no longer have the opportunity that I had.”

James Powell, a spokesman for disability charity Optua, added: “Any reduction in a service which can help people with learning disabilities find employment is of concern to us. Disabled people continue to tell us that they do not get the support they need to find a job.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council confirmed that two officers help with calls for support from former Step clients.

He said: “To avoid publicly funded services being duplicated, Step is being reduced. High quality employment support for people with disabilities is available from the Jobcentre.”