SupportAbility has been created in order to address the gap in resources that currently stops SMEs being full contributors to the aims of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Its core aim is to provide resources that will enable a whole SME sector – Furniture – to embrace Article 27 of the UNCRPD and ensure that people living with disability can secure long-term employment in an industrial sector through its SMEs being able to supply the support they require. The key target group are SMEs active within the furniture trades. These will mainly be manufacturers, but will also when possible include retailers and any other ancillary sectors connected to furniture. Within the key target group, the objective will be to reach other managers beyond the Director and any potential peers within the SME workforce who can apply the resources created by the project.
The project fully recognises that a ‘manager’ may also be a ‘peer’, though equally they may not, especially at any initial point of entry to new employment. To this end, the project seeks to construct resources according to (a) the first six months and (b) the continuing time beyond the initial period of employment: this will allow for the initial period to be specifically identified as a period of transition from previous employment or what will often be a time without employment.
The period of transition is highly specific where employees with special needs may have specific requirements. After this, the period changes to a new set of requirements in order to retain a person living with disability within the workforce. According to the objectives stated, there are three key phases in the development of the Intellectual Outputs in the project. The first phase will include the first two outputs when information will be gathered. The second phase will cover the last three outputs when the Partners will create the resources. The third and final phase will cover the events when the resources will be presented to the target groups, eing their participation.
While the project identifies a primary organisational target group and includes other groups of people connected to these SMEs, it also identifies people that may be seen to be living with disability as being the main beneficiaries of the work, and that the project requires a transnational framework in order that they can benefit in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose of Article 27 in the UNCRPD is to ensure their rights in all countries.
As a project, it is appropriate that we choose the 11 directives in the first paragraph of Article 27 as the guide for our aims and objectives, given that it has retained its status as the primary benchmark for establishing the rights of people living with disability. With 25 European countries and the European Union having ratified the Convention, it is necessary that there is a transnational approach to our work so the project may meet its aims and objectives.