AMP Supplies HVAC To Local Charity Workshop
The Watford Workshop team, March 2020
AMP Air recently donated air conditioning to Watford Workshop, a charity providing supported employment and training to adults with disabilities.
Gill Nightingale, Partnership Manager at Watford Workshop, said: “The charity has been in existence now for over 55 years to provide employment, work experience, functional education and life skills training to adults with disabilities who without us would not be given this chance in mainstream employment.”
The Workshop works with each attending service user to identify their potential and help them to achieve this through tasks commensurate with their ability. Through this approach, they build much-needed confidence and skills which they can apply both inside and outside the Workshop. To remove further barriers, they also have professional Tutors for those who have little or no reading, writing and numeracy. Tutors are also available to deliver life skills training to enable their people to live as independent a life as possible outside of the Workshop.
The overarching goal for Watford Workshop is to provide all of the above and the encouragement and support needed to help those who can transition successfully into mainstream employment. This also includes practical lessons in how to job search, C.V. writing, completing job applications and interview techniques.
For those whose disabilities do not make this transition possible, Watford Workshop will maintain their supported place for as long as they wish to stay. One service user has now been with them for over 40 years.
Service users work largely in hand packing and light assembly work. Despite the skills learned at the Workshop, Gill says that the most valuable and rewarding part of the experience is often the confidence gained by an employee. “The outcomes we experience can just be incredible… from someone joining us who can’t look you in the eye and won’t hold a conversation to within a year we’ve got the opposite problem – they never stop talking and we have to ask them to keep the volume down! It is lovely to see friendships develop that helps to open up their world and give them a social life outside of the workplace that they may never have had before.”
Gill says that many people don’t appreciate just how much it means to have the opportunity to work; “You don’t realise how challenging it is for people with a disability to find a job. Most people dream about winning the lottery and giving up work – but for these guys, getting a job is winning the lottery.”
Despite the Workshop’s many successes, limited funds and an outdated building were causing some issues in the workplace in regards to maintaining a comfortable temperature. Summers were stifling and the service users were forced to use small electric heaters during the winter; but with a tight budget, the options for improvement were limited.
Upon hearing of these issues, AMP Air was keen to help out. AMP reached out to the charity and offered to supply the appropriate air conditioning units which would help alleviate the cold winters and hot summers, providing 2 wall-mounted units and 2 outdoor units. AMP and Watford Workshop also got in touch with Steve Perham, a local air conditioning installer, who upon visiting the charity and seeing its impact generously offered to carry out the installation work free of charge.
Steve commented: “The first thing that struck me was the atmosphere. It was just wonderful. The buzz was pure joy and happiness from everyone there which you never see in an ordinary workplace…The management team clearly have hearts of gold and I was hugely affected by the work that they did. I just fell in love with the place and really felt inspired to find anything I could do to help. I am so happy that we have been able to do this for them and thank everyone who has helped to make it happen.”
Talking of the impact the new HVAC systems will have, Gill commented: “There are two areas where the products provided by AMP Air will really make a difference at Watford Workshop. Firstly, in the running costs; we’re a small independent charity who need to count every penny, so the low running costs were something we were particularly impressed with. It means we won’t need to use the expensive heaters we have in the winter. Secondly, in the summer it will make a world of difference – I cannot begin to tell you how hot it gets in the Workshop!”
The products are already making a difference in the Workshop as winter settles in – and will continue to provide benefits for many years to come as Watford Workshop continues its mission.
Gills’ final summary on the new air conditioning units? “They look amazing and do their job – but for us, it’s the difference they will make day-to-day in terms of efficiency and comfort.”