14 May 2015
The winners of the 2015 Emloyment for All awards organized by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) are the social cooperative La Fageda from Spain for their work in facilitating quality job opportunities for individuals with mental illness and disabilities and Elite Supported Employment Agency, Ltd from the United Kingdom as a best practice on providing support services in employment for persons with intellectual disabilities.
La Fageda is a Catalan cooperative founded in 1982 with the objective to provide social and work integration to people with mental disabilities and acute mental diseases. La Fageda being a worker cooperative (although it is also a social cooperative according to the Spanish legislation), its members are mainly workers, including those with disabilities (who are the majority). There are other types of members, namely the legal representatives or family members of disabled persons hosted by La Fageda and who are legally not allowed to work, as well as the professionals from the welfare foundations that provide services to La Fageda.
This cooperative runs a dairy farm with more than 500 cows, specialised in the production of milk (it has over 500 cows) and yogurt. La Fageda is also a plant nursery and provides gardening services, dealing with the maintenance of public green spaces in several municipalities of its area and taking care of the Natural Park of the Volcanic Area in Garrotxa. The experience of La Fageda is deeply analysed in the CECOP book “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs: Twenty experiences of cooperatives active in industry and services across Europe”