Norwood is helping adults with learning difficulties to develop skills that they can go on to use in a work environment.
The charity launched the Norwood Gifts Social Enterprise project in 2011 to teach service users about “the unwritten rules of work”. It currently has 30 people who make handmade gifts in art classes, from candles to glass dishes or jewellery. The makers go on to sell the pieces at art stalls at shopping centres such as the Harlequin in Watford and Norwood charity shops. The money raised from the sale of gift items is ploughed back into the project.
“I really like selling on the stall and I want to do lots more,” said Norwood resident Naomi Mushin, 50, who has Down’s syndrome and has been part of the project for a year. “I like making and selling our jewellery.”
A Norwood spokesperson explained that “the trainees learn skills such as how to work in a team, the importance of being on time, how to work to targets and appropriate behaviour. We hope these enterprises enable people to develop skills to help them move on into open employment in the future.”
Norwood Gifts volunteer Shoshi Kraus added: “It gives them a reason to get up in the morning and a sense of achievement and independence.”