News that Falkirk’s Asset support service will close later this year was yet another blow for one family.
Linda Leishman (48) was already trying to come to terms with her diagnosis of secondary breast cancer when she heard that the employment training unit, attended twice a week by daughter Mhairi (24), was shutting.
Now the mum-of-three from California is concerned her daughter will be left without any support to find work.
She said: “When I was diagnosed my fears were all for Mhairi’s future. But at least I knew that she had her place at Asset which she loves. She has been going there since she was 18.
“The people who attend this facility have a range of learning difficulties and for some, including my daughter who is autistic, it provides security as well as learning skills to people who would otherwise be struggling in the outside world.”
Asset provides employment for 56 people, mainly on a part-time basis, from a unit in Tamfourhill Industrial Estate.
The support service, which is run by Falkirk Council’s social work services, trains the vulnerable adults to make garden furniture, print wedding stationery and make balloon arrangements. But more importantly it helps them gain valuable skills to hopefully go on and find employment.
Ian Hood, coordinator with the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, is concerned about the loss of such a service.
He said; “Places like Asset give people an opportunity to get real work experience. The move nowadays is away from sending people to day care centres and instead about giving them the chance to gain permanent employment.
“More importantly it teaches them about working as part of a team, taking instruction and learning the work ethic.”
A spokesman for Falkirk Council said: “Adults who use Asset will continue to receive support towards employment from the council’s Employment and Training Unit. We will meet with adults who are not seeking further employment on a one-to-one basis to discuss their options for the future.
“We are working with adults who use this service on an individual basis over the next few months to ensure their employment and support needs are met.”