Case studies

Evenbreak – transforming employment for disabled people

Evenbreak is a social enterprise set up to close the disability employment gap, giving disabled people access to the same opportunities in the workplace as others.

From not knowing which employers genuinely welcome disabled candidates to inaccessible recruitment processes – disabled people face multiple barriers in entering, thriving and progressing in the workplace. Many often lack self-confidence in a work culture where negative perceptions of disabled people still exist.

Breaking down barriers

Through everything it does, Evenbreak works to break down these barriers. The social enterprise runs an online jobs board specifically for disabled candidates to find work with inclusive employers. The majority of its income is through charging organisations for advertising their roles. Since the social enterprise was set up, over 700 employers have advertised on the site and more than 90,000 candidates have registered on the platform.

Evenbreak also delivers training and consultancy services to help organisations make their systems and processes more inclusive, removing any disabling barriers people may face. To counter negative perceptions, it promotes success stories of disabled people in work.

Income from the jobs board and training services enables Evenbreak to run its Career Hive: a career support service for disabled people containing online resources and workshops, a directory of support services, ‘meet the employer’ events and one-to-one career coaching.  The Hive improves candidates’ confidence by giving them the skills and support needed to succeed. So far, around 200,000 people have accessed the Hive, with 500 receiving personalised coaching.

Experts through experience

Evenbreak was founded by Jane Hatton in 2011. She had been working in the field of inclusion and diversity when, on becoming disabled herself, she established Evenbreak. Working largely from bed following spinal surgery, she set up a business dedicated to connecting disabled candidates and inclusive employers.

All Evenbreak’s staff are disabled, with all services designed and delivered by disabled people, bringing an authenticity to its work that is grounded in lived experience.

Creating an inclusive workplace culture is embedded within the social enterprise itself, which has a strong focus on incorporating the principles of intersectionality into its operations. Given disability doesn’t discriminate, this approach looks at different, interlocking aspects of a person’s identity – such as race, gender, age and sexual orientation – and how these can result in individuals facing multiple forms of discrimination. Taking an intersectional approach allows Evenbreak to understand the multiple issues faced by candidates, and better tailor its work to the needs of individuals. All its training and consultancy work includes an emphasis on intersectionality.

Setting up as a social enterprise was important to Jane, as it allowed the business to focus on the people it supports, unlike a traditional business focused on shareholder value. As she puts it:

“We didn’t want to be a traditional company, as it would mean profiting from the inequality that disabled people face – and also, we wanted to be driven by the needs of disabled people, not the needs of shareholders. But we didn’t want to set up as a charity, as that would send out all the wrong messages; our candidates aren’t charity cases, they are a valuable source of talent to employers.”

An award-winning social enterprise

Evenbreak’s work transforming the world of employment for disabled people was recognised in 2023 when it won the Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice Award at our UK Social Enterprise Awards.

Commenting on this success, Jane said:

“Winning the UK Social Enterprise Award for Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice was a great opportunity to endorse our work to existing and future clients – and showcase the benefits of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice more widely, from a social impact perspective.”

To find out more about entering or sponsoring the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2024, click here.