Lovells teams up with charity for Westminster disability project

Lovells has been working on a pro bono project to set up a new centre to provide services for the physically disabled.

The firm’s team assisted the Training for Life charity, which helps disadvantaged people into work, to review the tender document for a new facility in Westminster.

Due to open in October, the Westminster Prospect Centre For People With Disabilities will progress the existing day care centre on the site into one that will not only provide care for disabled people, but also work skills training and employment opportunities.

As well as reviewing Training for Life’s tender document, Lovells also gave the charity advice on employment transfer and property issues for the project as well as on negotiations with Westminster Council, the owner of the building.

The drafting and negotiation process lasted from August to December 2006, and the Lovells team was led by London corporate partner Peter Watts.

Watts said: “We negotiated the contract with the council, moving it on from being something static to something that will empower disabled people. But that was a change of scene and something new for the council, and the project is also Training for Life’s first foray into the world of disability, so it was interesting for all of us.”

Training For Life was set up in 1995 to get homeless people back into work, training or study, and runs a number of social enterprises, personal development programmes, training courses, and ‘back to work’ schemes.

As well as teaching employment skills, the Westminster Prospect Centre will also set up social enterprise activities to offer real-life working situations in which users can gain appropriate experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications.

Proposed projects to be staffed by disabled people include a community café, a complementary therapy resource such as a hydrotherapy pool, and a telephone/messaging service for a commercial client via Cisco Systems and BT.