We believe that the value of work is far more than the wages paid. Employment provides routine, a sense of normality, and, with the right support and adjustments, can also facilitate a greater sense of wellbeing.

In 2017, the late David Shutts OBE was faced with a dilemma. Despite several decades of a successful career in the Royal Navy and later as a regional business director, he suddenly found himself completely isolated from the world of work. And why? Because he had been diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer. Although the physical symptoms of the disease robbed him of his energy and made everyday life more difficult, David knew that he wanted to work and still had a wealth of valuable skills to offer. The challenge was finding a flexible, inclusive role that would fit alongside his treatment and condition management. Like hundreds of thousands of people with long-term conditions, he craved the sense of purpose and social environment that meaningful work can provide, but discovered that finding such opportunities was a profound challenge in itself. This led to the creation of Astriid in 2018, and the beginning of our story.

Since then, we have supported 120+ people and counting into inclusive roles. Our assistance has included our former job-matching service connecting individuals with meaningful work, providing tailored career support and mentoring, assisting with confidence-building and interview skills, and developing people’s knowledge of their workplace rights and reasonable adjustments. At the same time, we have collaborated with numerous businesses to provide industry-leading knowledge in key areas, such as inclusive recruitment and flexible working practice, to enhance inclusion in the workforce.

Around 20% of the UK population are living with at least one long-term condition, and it’s estimated that one in three have an Energy Limiting Condition. This number is set to rise, presenting the field of inclusive employment for these populations as an emerging challenge that must be prioritised.

Living with a long-term condition affects all aspects of a person’s life. As well as dealing with disabling physical symptoms, individuals must also manage threats to their mental wellbeing and quality of life. This can include loneliness and isolation, financial strain from the loss of work and profound gaps in social support, and facing stigma and hostility due to widespread disability discrimination and outdated stereotypes.

Many long-term conditions are characterised by energy impairment, post-exertional malaise, and chronic pain. Not everybody within this population is capable of work, and we hold firm in our position that nobody should ever be forced into unsuitable employment at detriment to their physical or mental wellbeing. However, millions of people with such conditions want to work, and are actively seeking inclusive opportunities to showcase their skills.

The challenge lies in reducing the numerous barriers they face in this mission, including the fact that many businesses do not yet understand the urgent need for more roles with flexible hours and remote or hybrid working options. This lack of provision makes people with long-term conditions feel unemployable and diminishes their feelings of self-worth, and thus the cycle continues.

That’s where Astriid comes in. Each element of our support services has been designed and informed by our team, all of whom have lived experience of managing long-term conditions at work. Through combining our own exposure to these challenges with our industry-leading research and close connections to the very community we serve, we have created unique avenues of support that meet the needs of a population who will no longer be left in the shadows.

Astriid’s services at a glance:

Employment support:

We provide targeted information for individuals with long-term conditions who are seeking work, and those hoping to remain in or return to work following a chronic illness diagnosis or relapse. This information is presented in the form of blog posts, downloadable PDFs and resources, webinars, and more, and specifically tailored to embrace the unique challenges of energy limiting conditions. Find out more about our employment support here.

Training and support for businesses:

We deliver virtual training workshops developed specifically for forward-thinking businesses and employers who see the value of embedding long-term conditions and disability into their Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) strategy. We focus on key areas such as inclusive recruitment and flexible working best practice, to equip organisations with knowledge, guidance, and resources that enable confident conversations in these areas. Find out more about our training and support for businesses here.

Our Partners