Kisharon working for job opportunities


Special needs charity Kisharon has expanded its social enterprise arm by opening Equal, a gift and home accessory store in Golders Green selling new and upmarket goods.

Chief executive Dr Beverly Jacobson said the project would incorporate "training young people with learning disabilities through supported internships in different sorts of work skills and matching them to employment opportunities".

Among its "micro enterprises" are cards designed by Kisharon clients and a baking initiative run by volunteers and helped by adults with learning disabilities who are packaging honey cakes and cookies.

"I've been working at Kisharon for eight years and the way the world of disability has changed in that time is remarkable," Dr Jacobson observed. "We really wanted to include [clients] in life and the way to do that seemed to be through work."

The project had attracted enormous goodwill. "Our lawyer Nick Green drew up our lease for us as a pro bono exercise and the most astounding thing happened when we were trying to fit out the shop. We were introduced to the most incredible man, Menashe Sadik. He said: 'We are going to do this, this and this.' I said: 'Hang on we have a budget.' And he said: 'This one's on me!'"

Adults from Kisharon's supported living service were at the launch. Moishe Goldblatt wanted "to polish the silver and make everything nice". Debbie Rosten said the shop was "very cool".

Also on the Finchley Road site is the Equal creative agency, replacing the Kisharon print shop as an expanded service. It will be a not-for-profit marketing and branding business offering print and design facilities.

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