Litter-picking work for people with learning disabilities in Grimsby's Park Ward could boost employment chances
PEOPLE with learning disabilities could be offered work opportunities as a way into full-time jobs.
A scheme has been mooted to give people litter-picking jobs in Grimsby's Park Ward for a minimum wage to improve employment chances.
Job descriptions would be community litter-pickers and they would work 16 hours a week for £8,500 a year – meaning they would still be entitled to benefits.
The initiative, which would be run by the Care Plus Group's employability scheme, has been unanimously approved by Park Ward Neighbourhood Watch, and needs a majority approval by Park Ward Action Group before it can go ahead.
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But some residents and Park Ward councillor Matthew Barrow are concerned vulnerable people could be "exploited and exposed to ridicule".
Mr Barrow, who has learning difficulties, said: "There would need to be some overseeing of the scheme so exploitation doesn't happen.
"We do not want vulnerable people being seen as cheap labour."
Another resident has an autistic grandchild and does not approve.
She said: "I don't think it is right and I don't believe in vulnerable people cleaning up other people's filth.
"It should be left to offenders doing community service. Why should it be the innocent that have to do this job?"
Secretary of the Park Ward Action Group, Brenda Dixon, is keen for it to go ahead, believing it a cost-effective way to clean the streets and get people into work.
She assured residents that only people with "mild" learning disabilities would be involved, for example, someone who cannot read and write and, as a result, cannot work.
She told a meeting of Park Ward Action Group: "I understand people have concerns but, personally, I have been a cleaner and I didn't feel disempowered doing it.
"I agree people who are on probation should work too, but this is different to what they are doing.
"The idea is that people with mild learning disabilities will work 16 hours a week cleaning the litter, which will allow them to keep their benefits and take them a huge step forward in getting a better job.
"In return, the streets in our area will be kept clean."
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