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  • Nickel Support

Interestingly Different - Our plans to get more adults with learning disabilities into employment

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Interestingly Different shop in Carshalton, Sutton
Interestingly Different shop in Carshalton, Sutton

We have big changes happening to our shop in Carshalton and we have been waiting a long time to share this exciting news in more detail with you. Over the next few months we will be transforming our shop into a brand new gift and homeware retail space. We’ve been working really hard behind the scenes putting together the pieces to make our vision a reality.

Our vision is to create an online and physical store selling a range of beautiful gifts and homeware. Alongside our own upcycled furniture and jam and chutneys we plan to stock a range of products from other social enterprises from all over the UK that also have social impact and support marginalised communities by providing skills, support or employment opportunities.

In addition, our new shop set up will allow us to provide employment skills and employment opportunities for up to 20 adults with learning disabilities each week within the first two years. The project will give our trainees at Nickel Support the chance to gain skills in physical shop, organising displays, stock checking, customer service, working on the till, packing products and developing team skills.

We were delighted to successfully have applied for two grants to help us achieve our vision. The first grant from the Social Enterprise Support Fund, who awarded us £45,000 to give our shop a much needed refit, fund the Communications Manager post for a year and to give our staff training to ensure they had all the skills necessary to really make this project a success. This was amazing news and has allowed us to get the project up and running, however we also needed some seed funding for stock to invest in products from the various social enterprises we would like to support and stock products from.

We are grateful for the Sutton Innovation Fund who have got behind our vision and can see what we are trying to achieve. This fund is provided through Sutton Council and administered by Community Action Sutton. They awarded us £15,000 to invest in stock and to bring in an external photographer to ensure the wonderful products are shown in the best light. This will really help us hit the ground running and provide a wide range of fantastic products, allowing us to support our customers to shop more mindfully and with a socially responsible mindset.

Work has already started transforming our shop basement into a storage and packing area. In the meantime, we are busy perfecting our shop, website design and we have started to contact social enterprises we are interested in partnering with.

We are hoping to have our physical shop ready in time for opening before Christmas, with our online shop opening not long thereafter, so we'll be busy beavering away until then. We will keep you updated with all the exciting happenings, so keep a look out across our websites and our social media. Exciting times ahead!

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