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  • Skelmersdale charity’s fight for survival!

    Henry James

    AN award-winning West Lancs-based charity which employs young people with disabilities to recycle donated mobility equipment will be forced to close in August unless £50,000 can be found to secure its future.

    Brighter Future Workshop, which is based at Greenhey Place in Skelmersdale, opened for business in 2005 and since then has won a host of awards.

    These include a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development; Best Social Enterprise England; Best Social Enterprise UK; Best Social Firm in Europe; Deloitte Innovation Pioneers; and The Big Society Award.

    The charity was also honoured in October 2012 by a visit from The Countess of Wessex.

    Peter Cousins MBE, chairman of Brighter Future Workshop, said: “We are fighting to keep Brighter Future going - it’s too good to lose - and we are looking for any help we can get to ensure we save it.

    “We want to encourage those people that we set out to help, to use our charity to purchase their mobility needs.

    “By doing this they will be supporting the training of young people with physical or learning disabilities within our workshop.

    “There are potentially 28,000 people with disabilities or long-term needs in West Lancs. In buying from Brighter Future you will enable us to connect with and support these young disabled people to have better lives.

    “Local businesses could help by providing corporate sponsorship to help with our overheads; or individuals or groups could sponsor a trainee or a technician to train the trainees at Brighter Future. This help would be greatly received and could save our charity.

    “We earn 92% of our costs and if we could find £50k we could guarantee our survival.”

    The charity provides a wide range of mobility scooters, wheelchairs and disability aids.

    Since its foundation Brighter Future has trained more than 350 young disabled people during more than 120,000 training hours.

    And its trainees have helped to refurbish more than 35,000 pieces of mobility equipment to help the disabled.

    Peter added: “It is very sad for our charity and staff, but mostly for the many young disabled people who will lose their placements in our workshop; these trainees help to recycle mobility equipment.

    “If West Lancs. lose Brighter Future it will be a serious blow to people with disabilities.

    “Our training programmes have helped these disabled and disadvantaged people whom others might have considered un-trainable, to become motivated trainees, enabling them to help themselves to remove barriers and play a fuller role in life and society, positively enhancing their lives.”

    The charity has had no outside funding for three years but despite that has still managed to cover 92% of its total costs.

    However, as a result of rising costs the remaining 8% that they need to become sustainable equates to more than £100,000.

    Peter added: “Costs are escalating while the prices of mobility equipment has been slashed by mainstream providers.

    “It is becoming impossible for us to operate at the moment as our sales are in decline so, unless we can find extra funding, we will have no alternative but to close the charity while we are still solvent.”

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