IDC started life as CHEC (Chailey Heritage Enterprise Centre) and was opened in 1995 to provide a professional working environment for young, physically disabled people who had left formal education and experienced problems accessing open employment because of their disability.
Today IDC’s objectives remain the same, to help people develop a meaningful career who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining employment. The centre offers disabled people the opportunity to work as a team, designing, manufacturing and marketing a range of gifts and promotional items.
We use a variety of printing processes and can also offer embroidery. All work is done on-site and our office is split between the design area and the production area. Products are mainly sold to local customers including individuals, businesses, clubs and societies, but are also available for national distribution.
People who attend the centre contribute to the business in many ways including computer design, computer-controlled embroidery, press operation, producing marketing material and general office duties such as word processing and filing.
IDC is a social enterprise. That is to say that we are a business set up to address a social need rather than to chase a profit. We exist to provide work opportunities for severely disabled adults for whom paid employment is out of reach, but who nevertheless harbour a desire to be involved in a meaningful daytime activity.
IDC gives such people access to the intrinsic benefits that work can bring such as improved self-esteem, personal development and social interaction within the community.
Our aim is to enrich the lives of adults with severe physical disabilities through work experience and training. Everyone at IDC integrates and works together as a team to produce products for our customers, whatever their degree of ability or disability.
We try and create a balance between purposeful occupation and a relaxed atmosphere where everyone can enjoy their day
At IDC we produce a wide range of high-quality printed products, from T-shirts, fleeces and hoodies, to mugs, greeting cards and banners. We strive to create anything our customers ask of us.
We also offer a no-minimum order policy.
IDC offers a stimulating and supportive working environment for adults with a wide range of impairments.
We use an assortment of industry-standard equipment including digitally activated embroidery, heat presses and large-format printing to produce a variety of products for the general public. We operate a number of professional standard design programmes such as CorelDraw and Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
Our offices are wheelchair accessible and we employ a care assistant to aid with care needs such as toileting and feeding.
Is IDC Right For Me?
IDC is committed to working with disabled adults to help them use their skills, interests and abilities to fulfil their aspirations to work. We talk at length with individuals to find out their needs and abilities and work with them to find how best they can contribute in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to their notion of work.
IDC offers inclusion to disabled people throughout all of our business operation from dealing with customers face-to-face, via email or phone to designing and manufacturing products. There is also the opportunity to be involved in various aspects of business management including accounts, filing and office maintenance.
Our relaxed and supportive working environment encourages individuals to contribute at a level suitable to their personal abilities and support is given so that everyone working at IDC finds their workday enjoyable and productive.
We understand the many challenges faced by disabled people when accessing a workplace and aim to assist them as fully as we can. Disabled staff can take part in the Centre on a full or part time basis to suit their requirements. No professional qualifications or prior work experience are required.
The most important attribute we look for is an interest in and willingness to engage in what we do. We encourage individuals to learn new skills during their time within the Centre as well as focusing on existing areas of interest.
That’s what someone once said to us and to an extent they were right. Work isn’t everything but you’d be surprised how important it is and what a difference having access to work can make to someone. Many disabled people lack the structure and social stimulation that having regular work can provide.
IDC is dedicated to nurturing the ambition and motivation within individuals giving them the opportunity to find enrichment in their lives by focusing on what they can contribute rather than their impairments. We are an organisation where disabled people are actively involved rather than passive recipients of a service.
It has been proven in numerous studies that regular, meaningful work can be beneficial to the physical, mental and social health of most people, including those with long-term impairments.
While IDC may not be suitable for everyone, all those who use the Centre feel that it has a positive influence on their lives – just read our team testimonials! Skills honed within IDC aren’t limited to direct work or academic achievement.
Through IDC, individuals have the opportunity to grow in confidence through witnessing their contributions going towards an end product, developing independence by taking on personal challenges within the running of the Centre and improving social and communication skills by interacting with customers, suppliers and being part of a team that competes within a public marketplace. Such improvements are often overlooked by those with greater access to employment but cannot be overestimated when it comes to an individual’s sense of self-worth and personal value.
Having a job isn’t everything, but having a purpose is.
Meet some of our Incredible team members!
I started at IDC in 1996 and work Monday to Friday. If I did not come to IDC I would feel isolated and my days would be unfulfilled.
I really like coming in to work and I never know what the day will hold, every day is different and I enjoy here because it is a challenge.
At IDC, when I do a design I know it’s for a reason, for a customer’s order or improving my abilities for the good of Centre. I have a role.
Without IDC I feel that my life would be restricted as I need daily support to achieve little tasks which other people take for granted.
I would say to anyone who is disabled and finds it hard to get paid work but wants to learn new skills and have the structure of a working day just to try it.
I like the challenges here, like learning how to use new equipment and with a little bit of help I like problem solving. I have a purpose now.
IDC is a cool place. There is always something going on, someone telling jokes, playing the quiz on the radio or banter about football!