|Shop With.. and Make a Difference|
Accession Social Enterprise opens on 8th June
A shop with a big difference is opening in West Ealing on Saturday (June 8th).
On the site of the former Debra shop (near Flynns/Paddy Power) ; it will be the second shop to be opened by the Accession Social Enterprise.
Their first – in Boston Road, Hanwell - has been open for well over a year now. Personally I had doubts about how well it would do there – but it has been really well supported by locals and that, coupled with the fact that the stock is very stylishly displayed, have given it a firm following – including me.
There should be quite a party atmosphere on Saturday, with nibbles and a fashion show – organized in conjunction with the Catalyst Housing Association – who’ve recruited local people to model the clothes.
I don’t know if MP Virendra Sharma will be modeling anything – but he will be officially opening the shop. “Accession do fantastic work helping people with special needs gain employment in the mainstream workforce. They provide crucial support for those who are marginalised and I know that they will give many in the community a great opportunity with this new shop.”
Rosalind Keal currently works at the Boston Rd shop but will be working at the new one. She says “I love colour coding the clothes and making the rails look attractive. I’m excited about the new shop too.
Accession Social Enterprise is a partnership between Ealing Council and the West London Metal Health Trust (and other local organisations) and was established to provide work experience in various fields to help long-term unemployed people gain the skills they need to find jobs.
Steve Shrubb, Chief Executive of the Trust told me; ”Research shows that providing meaningful work opportunities for people with mental illness can be one of the most beneficial things we can do to support their recovery. As a result we’re delighted to be working with our partners in Accession and Ealing Council in supporting the opening of the shop which will provide good quality work opportunities for people with mental health problems from the local area.”
Printing: the enterprise offers a full design and printing service. Formerly based at Ealing Hospital, it has recently started operating in St James’ Avenue, West Ealing (opposite Blockbusters).
Catering: there are small cafes at Ealing Hospital and Acton and they will soon open outlets in Horsenden Hill and in the new West London Mental Health Trust HQ café in Armstrong Way, Southall.
It goes on …. they also run an arts and crafts enterprise - making greetings cards, jewellery and wooden items. The Accession team is looking to roll out a digital archiving service in the next year – and are considering a car valeting operation at Ealing Hospital (which may well be cheaper than the car park!)
Simon Jarrett from Accession was one of the founding members he says ‘The whole thing was born when a group of people came together with a shared belief that people with learning disabilities and people with mental health needs have the right, and the ability, to flourish in the world of work. As we grow, we are seeing that belief take shape in practice, with people making great contributions in real jobs in real businesses.”
Indeed the manager of the framing service has come up through their system and three of the trainees who have had experience in the existing Accession shop now have full time retail jobs.
Accession’s new West Ealing shop will offer not only clothing but also furniture and a picture framing service. Steve Shrubb added, “For a number of years our service users have run a successful picture framing shop on the St Bernard’s hospital site. This will be moving into the new Community Shop where there will be many more potential customers.”
Ealing Council leader, Julian Bell, says: “The work of Accession is so important for the community and we are really proud of everything they have achieved. Their business-like approach is helping to ensure their schemes are heading in the right direction to eventually be self-sufficient and cover their own costs. Their first community shop in Hanwell has already proved to be a spectacular success and I look forward to seeing the West Ealing shop flourish.”
5th June 2013