Innovative Practices 2013 on Employment

A co-working model of employment

CHANGE is an international human rights organisation led by disabled people that employs persons with learning disabilities. It promotes choice, independence and control for all people with learning disabilities. Through its innovative resources and by piloting new tools and ways of working, it influences policy and practice throughout the UK and across Europe.

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:A co-working model of employment
Organisation:CHANGE Ltd.
of origin
United Kingdom


Currently, CHANGE has 25 volunteers and 17 paid staff.

Each year, approximately 500 different organisations buy its easy-read resources – books, DVDs and picture banks. They are widely used in the UK by government bodies, local authorities, health providers and specialist organisations and charities. Across Europe, too, there is much interest in CHANGE’s work and it is, therefore, developing an even greater range of resources that can be used across different countries and cultures. It estimates that, as a result, over 80,000 PWLD per year have access to easy read information as a result of its services.

CHANGE also delivers training to approximately 800 professionals per year. Through its cascade model and “training the trainers”, it also reaches more than 1,000 PWLD who have received training arising from CHANGE’s input.


CHANGE has employed persons with learning disabilities (PWLD) in key roles on proper salaries and as equal members of staff for over 15 years. At CHANGE, PWLD develop accessible resources, deliver training and run projects. CHANGE is expert in employing PWLD and accessible working. CHANGE has developed its “Co-working Model of Employment”. The model ensures that two people can share responsibility and work together in an inclusive way.

Fewer than one in ten PWLD have a paid job; this job is usually low-paid and part-time. The CHANGE co-working model fills this gap, providing PWLD with an original and emancipatory approach to work. Working inclusively and accessibly is very challenging. CHANGE recruits experienced workers (with and without learning disabilities) such as illustrators to make the message as accessible by PWLD as possible. CHANGE has been supporting PWLD to pilot new and innovative approaches to inclusion and disseminate learning. CHANGE has won national and international awards. Most recently, it won the British Medical Association Award 2012 for Patient Resource of the Year for its series of accessible books about cancer.


CHANGE has, recently, been expanding this model to other European countries (the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Moldova). It works closely with a number of self-advocacy organisations that work with, and on behalf of, PWLD to empower them to use the CHANGE model.



Philipa Bragman
Unit 41, SHINE, Harehills Road, Leeds LS8 5HS, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 113 3880011

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