A Croydon Council officer who works to support people with disabilities into work has reached the final of the National Diversity Awards.
Nana Marfo, who works as an employment support officer in the Gateway division, has been named a finalist in the category of Positive Role Model Award – Disability out of over 24,550 nominations.
The 35-year-old works to get people with disabilities into – or back into – supported employment and increase their independence. His work has included supporting a Croydon man with Autism Spectrum Disorder to start a nursery apprenticeship after over 30 unsuccessful applications for other jobs. Another example was a man who had been long-term unemployed after a stroke ending up getting a job as a court usher.
Nana was himself born prematurely with a narrow airway which resulted in a permanent breathing disorder that required throat surgery, and he later suffered the loss of sight in his right eye.
Nana said: “We all deserve access to a workplace which is accommodating and gives full support to people with disabilities. Due to my tracheostomy I almost lost my voice; now I feel a duty to use it to speak for those who feel they do not have one. I was stunned and proud to be nominated, and hope this will raise the profile of jobseekers with disabilities.”
The National Diversity Awards, which will be held on 14 September in Liverpool, celebrate the achievements of the charities, role models and community heroes campaigning for equality, diversity and inclusion. The awards aim to empower and inspire the wide-range of diverse communities across the UK by promoting and giving visibility to the positive role models within those communities.
“Giving people with disabilities the support and confidence to get and keep fulfilling jobs is an important council role, and I’m so pleased Nana’s work has been recognised in this way.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services