ACE participant working on an umbrella frame

After being made redundant in 2011, Sam was keen to return to work. He took a proactive approach to contacting the council and was consequently paired with an ACE employment advisor who mentored him into his current work. Sam was enthusiastic to join the family owned company ‘Fox Umbrellas’, given its international client list and local reputation.

When I first came to visit the business I thought it looked like a good place to work, the building looked nice and open plan and the people are lovely. Everyone gets on here, we all have a joke and a laugh and I help other people out.

Thriving in his role, Sam has been given a lot of insight in the creation of the luxury umbrellas and was able to talk through the various stages of the production line and the importance of quality control. He works across both workshops in the factory and is confident using specialised technical tools.

The unique way ACE is structured allows wage subsidies and in work support to clients to ensure every individual is able to shine to the best of their ability. In Sam’s case the positive impact the return to work has had is hugely evident and when we met him he reflected on his responsibilities with pride and confidence:

Since having this job I go out a bit more and I want to learn more about things I can do. I want to save my wages a little bit and I really want to start driving so I can get about a bit more. I had been out of work for a long time before this.

ACE is funded by BBO. Building Better Opportunities brings together funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) to help tackle poverty and promote social inclusion across England.