Tackling challenges head-on

Birmingham-based Shelforce has been making sure its disabled employees have been protected as they return to work following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Seventy-five percent of Shelforce’s workforce are disabled, and the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on those who rely on their daily work at its factory in Erdington.

But the company is tackling the challenge head-on to ensure its team are in a safe environment as they slowly get back to full capacity.

Safe working practices have been introduced in the factory to help with social distancing, as well as reduced operating hours for staff. And the most vulnerable are being allowed to start and leave earlier so they will not be on public transport at rush hour. They are also finishing earlier on a Friday.

Shelforce’s business manager Howard Trotter said: “The lockdown has been hugely challenging for us all, but it has impacted disabled people even more. We have staff who are autistic, deaf, visually impaired and suffer from cerebral palsy, and Shelforce plays such a huge role in their lives that it was tough for them when they couldn’t do the job they love.

“It was very important to keep in touch with them as much as we could during lockdown and to have everything in place so they could work safely. As they can’t drive, they rely heavily on public transport so we have tried to minimise any risk as much as we can so they can get to work safely.

“It’s been a challenge, but our team overcome bigger obstacles every day than many of us will face in a year, and that toughness and a determination has allowed them to hit the ground running since they have come back.”