Self-employment for people with disabilities and health conditions

Original Report Summary
Full Report

There can be huge positive benefits to self-employment for people with disabilities. The option to be able to work flexible hours that fit around their life and their barriers, gives people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to work, an opportunity to receive all of the benefits that work can bring. Employment can offer a sense of pride and sense of purpose, it can benefit health and wellbeing. However, the strict routine, commute and inflexible hours can all be barriers that can be eleviated in some part by self-employment.

The government’s self-employment report highlights that often people with disabilities are ‘pushed’ into self-employment by traditional employment’s inaccessibility rather than a self-determined pursuit of a passion and that self-employment rates are generally higher in people with a disability.

It also mentions that often the support needed to run a business is from family and that people are unaware of how to access schemes such as Access to Work.

At Luminary Photography CIC we are working with disabled people, who have struggled to find the right route into employment for them. Although we are happy to assist with supported employment, we are particularly interested in supporting people into self-employment. Photographers generally are self-employed (or freelance) and other creatives too. The number of employed roles in the creative industries is limited and in the North of England even more so with only 15% of the country’s Creative Industries based in the North despite it being home to 23% of the population ( Accessed 1 Dec 2023).

The conclusions of the report were that the ideal support that could be offered was:

  • Peer mentoring from someone with lived experience of a disability
  • Centralised guidance around self-employment and
  • Short notice ad hoc support
  • Finance, small interest free loans

Our intention is to provide at least the first three of these and to signpost and support in identifying finance and other support outside of our remit.