Maria Miller met Paul Beesley the Manager of Sainsbury's Town centre store in Basingstoke. Sainsbury's have been a firm supporter of the Basingstoke Inclusion Zone. The BIZ sticker is now displayed in the store’s window as a sign of Sainsbury’s support for the scheme.
Maria also met with Jo Middleton who is the new store manager at Marks and Spencer Festival place. The store also now displays the BIZ logo. Marks and Spencer will continue to support BIZ and will be running "a seeing is believing" seminar later in the year which demonstrates the benefits of employing people with disabilities.
The Basingstoke Inclusion Zone is working with Basingstoke Mencap, who are running the Aspire Project aimed helping people with learning disabilities get into employment. In Hampshire only 9% of people with learning disabilities are in employment.
The Basingstoke Inclusion Zone is aimed at recognising local employers who are proactive in recruiting people with disabilities and who sign up to a “local Two Ticks” charter. Companies already signed up include The AA, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Fujitsu, QHotels, The Basingstoke Sport Trust and Great Guns Marketing.
The Mayor announced at the launch that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council would also join the Basingstoke Inclusion Zone.
Many employers sign up to national schemes to support disabled people into work but people with learning disabilities are still finding it difficult to find employment. The Basingstoke Inclusion Zone is a way for local employers to show their commitment, to giving people with learning disabilities the right opportunity to reach their potential.
There has been significant interest from other Basingstoke employers who are in the process of signing up. BIZ also aims to sign up other smaller companies and organisations.
The BIZ Logo was designed by William Maughan who designed it as a target with a soft font I for Inclusion. The logo will displayed in the windows of businesses who sign up.