We want to share with you, one particular way in which we support a local charity that has had a profound impact on our team.

We’ve been working with The Bridge Project in Sudbury for years. It’s a charity that exists to provide a ‘community within a community’, that helps vulnerable people living in the area, whether they have learning, physical or ‘hidden’ disabilities.

We support the marketing and promotion of The Bridge Project’s work, and Paul Mackman is on the board of trustees. Theirs is a cause that’s always been close to our heart, as they share our values of supporting people and making a positive difference to the lives of individuals in the community.

In 2012, we were part of a group discussion with other organisations in Sudbury who met with The Bridge Project to figure out different ways organisations in the town could get involved with the charity. Joined by businesses like Waitrose, we initiated a work placement programme that would allow students of The Bridge Project to become employees of organisations within the town and develop new skills, while contributing to the businesses they were joining. After a couple of taster day sessions in our offices with around six students from the charity, we were able to offer two people a place on this new eight week programme. They’re still with us today as official employees, and that’s a big deal for us.

Michael Balls supports the general operations of the business and is solely responsible for all recycling and the shredding of sensitive paperwork. A keen gardener, he also looks after the runner beans and the roses outside and regularly decorates our desks with freshly cut posies. Michael works independently, with very little supervision and makes an invaluable contribution to our business. He’s very friendly and loves a chat, updating us on his fishing exploits and what he’s been learning at The Bridge Project.

Patrick Parker works across a number of areas of our business, largely because of his incredible aptitude for computer based tasks. He’s a fast learner and works closely with the technical team, inputting data. Patrick has been instrumental in the uploading of information to our accounts software. He’s also very interested in design and the work undertaken by the creative studio. Patrick is a hard and thorough worker and has integrated seamlessly with the rest of the team. He’s got a cracking sense of humour, and doesn’t forget a thing even if you tell him once.

It’s important for us to share this with you, because there are students at The Bridge Project who could make a real difference to a business like yours, if they’re just given the chance. There is a perception that those with additional needs, or a mental health condition, aren’t suited to the workplace. But this simply isn’t true.

Michael and Patrick are no different to any other member of the Mackman team, and with the wonderful support of the staff at The Bridge Project, we’re able to give them access to opportunities and experiences they wouldn’t have been available otherwise. If you’d like to learn more about what this means to Bridge Project students like Michael and Patrick, please get in touch by emailing customerservice@mackmangroup.co.uk, or call 01787 388038.