Helen McKay, Deputy Manager of Paperworks in Leeds, tells us about the work done by the Paperworks social enterprise.

Describe Paperworks in a paragraph.
Paperworks is a charity and social enterprise providing training for adults with learning disabilities in work skills. Our aim is to support trainees to become more independent and play a greater role in the community. Trainees learn on-the-job giving them the opportunity to gain experience in a supportive environment.

What is the background to Paperworks?
Paperworks was established in 1994 in Harrogate by a printer who was disillusioned at the lack of work opportunities available for his brother who had a learning disability.

Since then Paperworks has grown from strength to strength and opened a second office and workshop in Killingbeck, Leeds in winter 2012.

What services does Paperworks provide/deliver?
Paperworks offers training in on-the-job in our office based workshop, 1:1 and group training in work skills. Training is tailored to meet individual needs which covers a range of topics including: confidence, communication and team work.

Examples of jobs that trainees have completed in our workshop include: packing, weighing, counting, laminating, shredding and velcroing. A range of jobs are required to provide our trainees with different work skills. Paperworks offers a range of business services including: print finishing and packaging work; direct mailing; hand finishing; fulfilment and printing.

Once trainees have become established the are also supported to attend external work experience placements, workplace visits and events. Trainees have volunteered with a range of organisations and businesses from Healthwatch to Ladies Only Travel!

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
The Paperworks team is made up of staff, trainees and volunteers. Trainees attend Paperworks to learn and develop their work skills. And there is a dedicated team of volunteers who support the trainees and help with fundraising events throughout the year.

The team in Leeds is:

Damien Handslip | Manager

Helen McKay | Training Development Manager

Richard Alexander | Production Co-ordinator

Diane McInnes | Training Supporter

James Watling | Enterprise Development Manager

What is the best thing about your job?
I couldn’t work with a nicer group of people! Including the trainees, staff, volunteers and our colleagues in the third sector who continue to support Paperworks.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Not being able to support everyone that would benefit from our service.

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
The ability to create a clear and fair benefits system that supports those with the greatest need.


October 2014