Category: Overcoming disability
Mission: Teach disabled youths technical skills
Peter Cousins was almost on the scrapheap himself after a spinal condition put him in a wheelchair at the age of 50. “I spent four or five years feeling sorry for myself. I was an angry man, sore at the world. Then one day, I woke up and thought, ‘this is no good. I’ve got to do something’.”
He got involved with the Shopmobility scheme, which lends mobility scooters to the disabled. He opened two shops, then had a second epiphany: “I saw a young guy with cerebral palsy, sitting on the floor and trying to fix a scooter. He had this massive grin on his face.” So Cousins opened the Brighter Future Workshop to teach disadvantaged and disabled youths to fix mobility scooters.
“Some are disabled and some have learning difficulties. They are dejected, and often lack social skills. We get them repairing scooters, stair lifts and hospital beds – although for some just taking a nut off is a triumph.” So far, more than 700 youths have spent time at the workshop.
Cousins made a conscious decision to run the workshop as a social enterprise. Repaired goods are sold back to the community
for a profit. “I wear two hats,” says Cousins. “A business hat in the office, and a carer’s hat in the workshop. Both sides are equally important.
We need income to keep the workshop running, so we’re always looking for new revenue streams.”
Cousins, who received an MBE last year for his work, is looking to take his inspirational concept nationwide.
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