A charity which has helped hundreds of disabled people find jobs has announced it is to close after losing a key council contract.
Progress Recruitment, based at the Enterprise Centre on Lytham Road, South Shore, has helped around 2,000 people with disabilities take up employment opportunities over the last 12 years.
The organisation, which employs eight people directly, will close on March 31. It started life as a local authority run agency but in 2002 it separated from Blackpool Council and became a limited company and registered charity.
It continued to deliver employment support on behalf of Blackpool Council, but last year the contract was put out to tender and awarded to Royal Mencap.
Chief executive Deborah Parker said: “It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we have made the decision to close the business after 25 years of working to achieve valued inclusive employment for people with disabilities.
“We’ve helped over 500 people into real jobs and supported around 1,500 young people in work placements and are extremely proud of what we have achieved over the years.
“We will continue to work with all the people currently using our services to ensure they are not left without the support they need.”
Blackpool-based disability consultant Stephen Brookes said the closure would be a blow to the town.
He said; “It is deeply concerning because the work done by Deborah and her team has been superb and meaningful, and the loss of that local knowledge will be a loss.”
Karl Turner, chairman of the Board of Director Trustees said: “Although the organisation will not continue, the legacy will with so many people fulfilling valued roles and making such a great contribution as employees and colleagues.”