A SHOP opened by students with severe learning difficulties has been such a success that more stock is needed.
Pupils from Uplands School, who all suffer from multiple learning difficulties, as well as additional needs including autism, visual or hearing impairments, have been running The Shop in Redhouse since November.
The idea behind the project was to create a learning environment while giving the students work opportunities which they may otherwise not be given.
As well as helping with the till, sorting out stock, stacking shelves and dealing with customers, the students also make items at school to be sold in the shop, including diaries, bookmarks, fridge magnets and jewellery.
And they even help serve refreshments in the coffee shop section inside the shop.
Shop manager Barbara Lenderyou said: “The shop is going great, but we need more stock – more of anything, except adult books because we have 800 of them. We take everything. Clothes, toys, CDs, DVDs, but we don’t take electrical items.
“We also have a little coffee shop and we are donated one cake a week by the Co-Op in Cheney Manor, but if any other businesses would like to donate any more we would be very grateful. It would be lovely to have some more.
“We have had a lot of support from the local community, we’ve done really well. As the weather is changing we are seeing a lot more people out for walks and they pop in to the shop for a quick look or a cup of tea and a chat.
“Some of them say they didn’t even realise the shop was there.
“A couple of times a week we have a few young mums who come in for a little chat, which is lovely.”
Tom Wisden, 19, is one of the students who help contribute towards the shop.
He said: “I really enjoy the shop and I love Uplands School. At school, I make keyrings, necklaces, bookmarks and things that can be sold in the shop. I think it’s really good, it’s our very own shop and we are proud of it.”
Lewis Dinsey, 18, helps out at the shop.
He said: “I actually really enjoy being a shopkeeper. It is something I thought I might do when I leave Uplands, but I might try to do something else now. Being at the shop has given me a lot of confidence and I think now I might like to be a train driver.
“I have met a lot of people while being at the shop, it is really good.”
The Shop, which is owned by The Uplands Educational Trust, is open from 10am to 4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Tuesday and Saturday.
Any donations can be dropped off at the shop during these times. For more information, call 01793 753013.