With a recent report from the government-backed Equality and Human Rights Commission stating that “more and more” disabled people are finding it difficult to “live independently” and be included, and participate, in their “communities on an equal basis”, a group of beer producers have set out to try to help alleviate the situation in one Scottish city.
Brewers from Ride Brew Co. of Glasgow, Late Night Hype Brewing Company from Clydebank and Bute Brew Co from the Isle of Bute are joining forces to start a new social enterprise dedicated to accessibility and providing well-paid meaningful employment for people with disabilities who are otherwise struggling to find work.
The project, dubbed the Glasgow Brewery Collective, is aiming to set up a tap room in the Gorbals on the Southside of Glasgow with a goal of being 100 per cent accessible for people with disabilities.
The brainchild of Ride Brew Co brewer Dave Lannigan, the new project was inspired by the fact that the brewer himself has hearing loss, while also suffering from ADHD and dyslexia.
He said: “My disabilities have given me personal experience of being excluded and the struggles that people with disabilities face when trying to find work. I’m keen to do something to help people in a similar situation to me find meaningful employment.”
The new venue will be completely accessible to people with a range of disabilities, from wheelchair users to people with impaired vision, as well as people with autism and those from the deaf community.
Mr Lannigan added: “Everyone will be catered for, we will ensure that the taproom itself will have more than the minimum legal requirement for disabled access.
“In addition to this we have started, and will continue into the day to day running of the taproom, a process of consulting with people whose lives are affected by disabilities so we can learn how we can best help and what facilities or services we can provide.
“As well as being 100 per cent accessible, we will be working with organisations such as Shaw Trust to provide opportunities for disabled individuals to get back into work, both in the tap room and with the breweries themselves.”
Mike Shaw, co-founder of Late Night Hype Brewing Company in Clydebank, who worked as an additional support learning assistant at a local school before starting his brewery, said: “Despite an incredible amount of hard work by students and their teachers, once graduated our young alumni often struggled in an increasingly competitive jobs market.
“When setting up Late Night Hype, I vowed to myself to create appropriate jobs with good support and development opportunities for people with additional support needs. We’re in talks with Ride to see how we can be a part of the plans, either being directly involved in the running of the project or by sharing resources.”
In order to get off the ground the Collective is turning to crowdfunding. Mr Lannigan stated: “Our plans are viable, there is a lot of interest in what we want to do and there is a genuine need in the community.
“However, it could take years to sell enough beer to raise the funds to finance it, especially in times of austerity. As such, we’re asking the general public to help.
“We need your help to create a space where people with disabilities can find work with a decent wage and to create a space where they can – along with everyone else – come and enjoy many of the things that most people take for granted.”
• To show your support and donate to the crowdfunder, or to learn more about this project, visit www.glasgowbrewerycollective.co.uk