The future is bright for the ISCAL facility in Calderdale, after the Council’s Cabinet agreed to continue its support for the service and to increase the products and employment experience it offers.
ISCAL is owned and operated by Calderdale Council and helps local people with disabilities or other barriers to work to move into employment.
One of the key priorities of the Council is to reduce inequalities and it is committed to the Vision for the year 2024 that Calderdale is a place where people can reach their potential, and talent and enterprise can thrive.
To help ensure that ISCAL can continue to deliver effective services for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable adults, the service was included in a review of employability options, carried out by an external consultant. They looked at options to enable ISCAL to have a secure future and reduce its dependence on Council grant funding, allowing it to become more independent and sustainable.
At the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 26 September, members discussed the options put forward and supported an approach that embeds ISCAL in wider support services for vulnerable people. This includes diversifying the products and employment experience it offers, which will enable it to establish a sustained financial position over the next three years.
ISCAL is currently one of the country’s leading manufacturers of coasters, napkins and other paper-based products. As part of the development of the service, expanded product ranges will be explored, in addition to the coaster manufacturing, with an environmental focus supporting the Council’s net zero targets.
This is likely to include the recycling of wood removed during construction and from pallets used in the delivery of goods, stopping it from going to landfill. The wood will be remodelled into affordable packs for DIY opportunities and fencing, providing low-cost products at a time when the cost of living is rising. New skill sets will be delivered offering wider opportunities for people to enter into a broader range of local jobs.
The future provision of ISCAL will also complement the Council’s Inclusive Economy Strategy supporting the most vulnerable people to access employment. The ISCAL team has the potential to work more closely with colleagues across the Council to support the development of a broader range of provision for adults with learning disabilities.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Silvia Dacre, said:
“I’m delighted that we’re able to support ISCAL’s future, allowing the facility to play an increasingly important role in helping people with learning disabilities to find fulfilling work, build vital skills and gain independence in this uncertain economic environment.
“We’re committed to seeing ISCAL not only survive, but thrive, and have agreed a business model which supports a strong future for the facility, maximising its potential and enabling employees to increase their skills and access wider employment opportunities. ISCAL currently supports around 200 people a year and for those leaving work programmes at the facility, 75% are still in employment 18 months later, in a wide variety of roles.
“The review of options for ISCAL incorporated learning and resources from Adult Services and Wellbeing, to ensure the business model best meets the needs of people with learning disabilities.”
The plans for the future of ISCAL have been developed and shaped in line with the Vision 2024 for Calderdale and its key themes of talent and enterprise and kindness and resilience. The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday and there are less than two years to go. Where do we want to be by 2024? What’s our ambition and what will be different? Find out more at www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision
As part of the expansion of product ranges at ISCAL, staff at the facility are keen to work with any local employers who wish to discuss the disposal of wood which could be recycled. The service can be contacted on 01422 352054.