8. July 2019

PARTNER PROFILE: Working to measure for ECOCOOL – Lebenshilfe Bremerhaven

It’s hard to imagine receiving a warmer welcome. Our visit to the depot at Lebenshilfe Bremerhaven is greeted enthusiastically. The association is run by people with disabilities together with their parents, relatives, friends and sponsors, and has now developed its workshops into a production and service company – employing over 600 people with and without disabilities. Dr Florian Siedenburg really appreciates Lebenshilfe as a partner and service provider.

“We have been in partnership with ECOCOOL since the very start of their journey,” says Thomas Rietzke. The head of production at Lebenshilfe explains: “Our workshops employ people who are unable to work, either in the long or short term, as well as those who are not currently able to return to work in the general labour market because of the nature and severity of their disability.” The 26 workshop groups across five sites in the Leherheide district of Bremerhaven currently employ 368 people with disabilities. They work in the box factory, assembly and packing, plastics processing, woodworking workshops, domestic services, the laundry group, the operational services group, the garden group “Querbeet”, the bicycle shop “Drahtesel” and the bakery with bistro “Brötchengeber”. The box factory is most closely connected with ECOCOOL. “This is where our employees manufacture individual, made-to-measure cardboard boxes for the shipping experts for temperature-sensitive goods,” says Rietzke. Lebenshilfe employees also cut insulating foils to size in all the variants for ECOCOOL. Order picking of cooling elements is another task that ECOCOOL regularly assigns to Lebenshilfe.

The charitable organisation offers support, care and consultancy through its institutions and services as well as employment. For example, with its interdisciplinary early support, Lebenshilfe supports very young children, who can be subsequently accepted into an integrative nursery. As a recognised workshop for people with disabilities, Lebenshilfe also offers accompanying services and extensive group opportunities. This provides the workshop employees with a positive work-life balance. They participate in regular group activities such as riding and swimming, which serve as reliable fixed points in their daily and weekly routines.

“The Lebenshilfe concept is that employees should participate in social and civic life, regardless of the level of their disability,” Rietzke explains. Outside of work, Lebenshilfe also offers training and further education courses together with external providers.

Dr Florian Siedenburg is a keen supporter of the Lebenshilfe concept. “We are glad to provide support by sending our orders. I’d also like to add that the employees there do excellent work. After all, we place the greatest emphasis on quality, and we get it from Lebenshilfe. Nothing leaves the yard in Leherheide without passing the appropriate quality checks,” says the managing director. Thomas Rietzke is very happy about the partnership with ECOCOOL. He would like to continue to develop such collaborations with businesses, for example by procuring more external positions. “Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to participate in the general labour market. An internship is often the first step towards this.” And he is working continuously on this: “It is simply fantastic when one of our employees gets a job outside our workshops. This gives them great new opportunities for the future.”

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