Burnley skills group goes from strength to strength

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A group set up two years ago to provide employment skills to people with learning disabilities is going from strength to strength.

TEAM Rise, which meets at Vedas in Burnley town centre, has even launched its own business model, making and selling hampers and other craft-based items.

The group’s 12 members are currently working towards their Easter enterprise, making hampers containing Easter chocolates, bath bombs and other treats which they will sell to friends and family and via their Facebook page.

They paid for the materials with the proceeds of hampers and other gifts they made and sold at Christmas.

Louise Mattocks (33) joined the group after accompanying a friend to the sessions. She said it helps to give a voice to people with learning difficulties.

Project leader Sharon Lees said: “They came to Vedas about two years ago to do work around employment, CVs and they were given work placements.

“From that people applied for jobs but most were unsuccessful and only one person got paid employment from it.

“Now we look at employability but not necessarily getting a paid job.

“This is giving people the chance to have a go in the business world but also the main thing is to help build confidence.

“A lot of people came here not able to speak to each other. Now they have made some great friendships, they all know each other and they feel comfortable.”

The group also organised a Valentine’s Day disco and have a social club which meets every Friday.

“We’ve visited museums, had book clubs, camera clubs, Wii Fit, had pamper days. We try to do things that will help them with other life skills.

“We’ve also done a lot with the police on the subject of hate crime and teaching the group how to stay safe on social media.”

TEAM Rise has set up its own ebay account to start selling products and a website is also being designed.

The group is trying to attract backing from companies to help further develop its business.

Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Sharon on 01282 832211 or for more information visit www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Rise-Project-East-Lancashire.




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