[access-uk] Re: Access to support

Hi Andy,

Very sorry to hear of your issues.  I used the ATW system last year and
I will give you my observations, but firstly I wonder if you would be
better to discuss this on a more mainstream disability list like UKVIEMP
or another list - as I think this one is perhaps a bit too specialised?

In my case, once I had a start date of 10 May (nearly a year ago) I was
able to start the ball rolling with ATW.  My screen reader was delivered
the premisis actually before I started work, so I don't see what the
issue is if they have given you a start date?  I could have either not
turned up for work or had my start date put back.  When I arrived there
was nothing set up, but I wasn't bothered about this as I could set up
the software myself.

I have no extra support so can't comment on that.

Thanks.
Andrew.

-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Andy
Sent: 06 May 2005 15:05
To: Access-Uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Access to support

    Hi all.

I'll try and not make this too lengthy a message but I really need help
from you guys!

On 28 January I was interviewed by a Scottish Local Authority for the
post of Community Care Social Worker.  Some on the list wished me all
the best.

The same day, I was offered the post and subsequently, received a
contract within a few days for the post of Community Care Social Worker.

My problems started when my prospective line manager turned out to be
more interested in me undertaking a different job than that interviewed
for and that contracted to do.

Since January, I have had numerous meetings with Access to work, an
agency who will provide support for my Personal Assistant, and meetings
with my new employer..

Unfortunately, Access to work could not commence application until I had
a start date from my new employer, and unfortunately, my new employer
could not provide a start date until my Disclosure Scotland had come
through.  In addition, my Guide Dog, Nairn, became lame during this
time.  However, although these things take time, I do feel that my
employer has been kicking the ball into the long grass, so to speak and
that they are no longer interested in employing me for the job I am
contracted to do.

Since January, I have had three start dates and all have been rolled
back for reasons such as you cannot start without your guide dog, you
cannot start without your personal assistance and you cannot start
because your I.to equipment has not yet been set up.

Some may recall that my Health and Safety Assessment recommended that I
be located on the ground floor as a blind person may place able bodied
people at risk, in the stairwell, during a fire emergency.  As a
consequence, the Whole Community Care Team was move from the first to
the ground floor.

My  prospective line manager had suggested that rather than undertake
the job I was interviewed for, the job I was offered and the job I was
contracted to undertake, that I undertake a Duty Social Workers post.
As I was only awarded 24 hours a week funding for my Personal Assistant,
I felt that I could not possibly undertake this job without a full-time
Personal Assistant.

I declined the offer  a month or so ago and subsequently fell out with
my line manager.  Since then, I've been fighting my corner.  The
discrimination I am experiencing is killing me and I don't have the
knowledge or skill to hold them back.  This is really getting me down
folks.

On Wednesday of this week, I became very upset and walked out during a
meeting.  I was so thrust that knowone understood my needs and no one
was interested in my views.

I telephoned Access to Work this morning who advised that they were only
concerned with assessing my needs and any difficulties I was having with
my new employer was nothing to do with them.

I telephoned my employer and spoke to the Area manager who advised that
I presented as very aggressive during my interview and that caused him
concern as I would be expected to work with service users.

I explained that I walked out because I was very upset adding that I was
trying to be assertive not aggressive but I was indeed very upset.  And
that I was attempting to challenge negative attitudes regarding blind
peoples capacity to hold down a job.

I now feel that I cannot possibly work with a line manager who has
actively discriminated against me for four months and I suspect that the
letter which is coming to me is withdrawing my offer of a job.  However,
I do have a contract. of employment.

My wife is a nurse and on low income and I am on Income Support.  I
really need help but cannot assess legal Aid as a consequence of my
wife's income. 
and I really feel that I need to hammer through to this authority that
they cannot treat disabled people like this.  I'd like to sue the Local
Authority through the DDA but don't have the funds or the knowledge to
do this. I'm considering writing to Action for Blind People to see if
they could help but I thought I'd sound the list out first.

I have had 13 interviews over the last four years for a job and I'm a
qualified social worker.  I only happen to be blind.  All of the
interviews, apart from my ;last one in January, proved negative.  The
newspapers say that Local Authorities are crying out for qualified
social workers so why am I not working.  I firmly believe that it is
because I am a blind person.  DO YOU KNOW OF ANY SOCIAL WORKER WHO HAS
HAD 13 INTERVIEWS AND IS STILL UNEMPLOYED..  I bet you don't.

My question at last folks, is what do I do now?

I'm really losing it folks and feeling very depressed, alone and
unsupported.

Any advice would be very appreciated as I'm at my wits end.

Andy.





















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