Breakthrough’s new HQ should boost inclusion


newslatestA leading disabled people’s organisation is hoping that its move to a new council-run “community hub” will help it deliver a boost to inclusion in local schools and services.

Breakthrough UK has moved its head office from Ardwick, east Manchester, where it was based through its first 16 years, to a smaller suite of offices in the Abraham Moss centre in Crumpsall, north Manchester.

The new head office has been named The Kevin Hyett Suite, in memory of one of Breakthrough’s founders.

Community and voluntary sector facilities at the Abraham Moss centre have been given a £12 million makeover by Manchester City Council, as part of a £62 million regeneration scheme.

The centre also houses a primary school, with a secondary school located next door. It even has its own dedicated stop on Manchester’s Metrolink tram system, which Peter Jackson, Breakthrough’s deputy chief executive, described as “the most inclusive and accessible public transport system in the UK”.

Breakthrough hopes that being co-located on the site with the two schools – with a reception class soon to be opened – will allow it to work with pupils on inclusion and disability issues.

Jackson said: “One of the added value benefits of re-locating to here is that rather than being in our own building, which was pretty much isolated from any other services, we are co-located with a whole bunch of other public and community services, including schools.

“The opportunity to network and work in partnership with those other services, particularly from an inclusion perspective… is obviously easier to do when you are co-located.

“We are looking forward to developing these partnership opportunities [and]… to work with the primary and secondary school on inclusion issues.”

Breakthrough decided to move to the new premises because its existing offices needed major investment to refurbish them and make them “fit for purpose”.

The organisation also wanted to align its work more closely with the city council’s new model of creating community hubs as a focus for services.

Jackson added: “It does fit with our philosophy and allows us to engage with those providers and help them with any barriers they face and work with them to remove those barriers, so those mainstream services progressively become more accessible.”

Breakthrough is also moving towards a new way of delivering its frontline services – which are mostly around employment support – with outreach workers based at different locations across the city, where they are more accessible to service-users.

Breakthrough delivers 70 per cent of its frontline services in Greater Manchester and the rest on Merseyside, where it is following a similar model of service-delivery and is again relocating to a council-run community hub.

7 November 2013