A council employee who boosts the independence of people with disabilities by supporting them into work has been nominated for the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards 2019.
Nana Marfo works as an employment support officer in the council’s Gateway division, championing inclusive employment by mentoring jobseekers with disabilities and training companies to know how to adapt.
The annual Pride of Britain Awards are a celebration of people across the country in all walks of life whose achievements range from acts of bravery to community service and charity fundraising.
Nana’s award nomination is his second in less than a year, after the 35-year-old was named a runner-up in the 2018 National Diversity Awards in the category of Positive Role Model Award – Disability out of over 24,550 nominations.
His successes have included supporting a Croydon man with Autism Spectrum Disorder to start a nursery apprenticeship after over 30 unsuccessful applications for other jobs. He also supported a man with memory loss to keep his job through support for him and his employer.
Nana was himself born prematurely with a narrow airway which resulted in a permanent breathing disorder that required throat surgery, and he later lost the sight in his right eye.
The council’s Gateway service, which supports struggling families to gain greater financial independence and improved job prospects, includes a team that focuses on supporting people with disabilities into work. As well as offering one-to-one support, this team also runs a Supported Self-Employment Academy for entrepreneurs with disabilities to develop their business ideas, an annual reverse jobs fair that pairs applicants with disabilities with employers, and this year began its first project offering on-the-job training for disabled applicants wanting a career in retail.
Nana said: “I want to be a part of making Croydon a vibrant and inclusive borough, and what excites me the most is helping people like me gain employment. Everyone deserves to be employed – and by working with us here in Croydon we can help people be successful in their search.
“I’ve been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure in the last month or so, and this setback has made me want to show that barriers can’t stop me from making a difference.”
“Nana’s drive and positivity is inspirational, and he brings a very personal approach to help Croydon people with disabilities overcome barriers to get the fulfilling job they want. We all wish him the very best with this award nomination.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services