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There’s plenty in store for Swindon pupils opening their own shop
AN empty building in the heart of Redhouse is being transformed into a vibrant coffee shop and charity store thanks to children with severe learning difficulties.
The Shop, owned by The Uplands Educational Trust at Uplands School, will be run solely by the pupils who all suffer with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties, as well as additional needs including autism, visual or hearing impairments.
Staff and students at the school are excited about the official opening of the shop, which is expected to take place in November.
Deputy headteacher Andy Segal said: “It is going to be a huge challenge for our students – we have researched it and we have found some special schools have shops within their schools, and some run little sweet shops, but this, we think, is unique so we are all excited about it.
“Every one of our students will be involved in the shop in some way.
“The students are going to be running it, meeting with the public, sorting out goods, handling money and doing window displays and in terms of communication, they will be meeting strangers and communicating with the public every day.
“I think you could almost build a whole curriculum around it and we can see so many possibilities for them.”
The Shop is part of the school’s work related curriculum. In addition to the shop, which provides the retail element, students take part in a lot of horticultural work in their memorial garden, as well as working with animals on the school site.
Andy said: “The shop is going to open from Monday through to Saturday but we don’t know the exact opening times yet.
“We have a five year lease on the school and I think the community is really pleased – we have been down there working a lot to make sure it is ready and it looks really smart inside.
“A lot of people have been knocking on the windows and asking us all about the project, which is nice.
“We have enough stock for our opening at the moment but I am sure once it all gets going, depending on how busy we are, we will need a rolling programme of donations.”