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Informing Business (July 25)

David Lee

Informing Business (July 25)

Craft Coop celebrates 10th anniversary

A social enterprise which gives creative people the chance to showcase their work to the public is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Mosaic artist Teresa Mills first dreamt of setting up Craft Coop when she visited the Danish island of Bornholm, which is renowned for its arts and crafts.

She was inspired to establish a place in Maidenhead where people could sell their creations and help revitalise the town centre.

Alongside Debra Jones, she launched the store, with the concept initially starting as a pop-up shop for Valentine’s Day in the Nicholsons Centre.

She said: “I don’t think people knew quite what to make of it because it was all pink inside and we were only open for a short period of time.

“For a couple of years we moved around the Nicholsons Centre and everyone would chip in to pack up at the end of each shift.”

The shop has been based in a permanent space within the Nicholsons Centre for the past two years.

Craftspeople are given the chance to rent a space to sell their wares, with all money except a small commission fee going back to them.

Partnerships have also been formed with mental health charity, MIND, and the Brett Foundation which has seen workshops and initiatives launched to support people with mental health issues and the homeless.

Co-founder Teresa Mills said: “A lot of people have been with us for years through thick and thin and they stay with it because they feel part of something.

“Coming to the shop is a way of meeting other people and being part of a helpful and supportive community.”

Cake will be on offer to customers from August 1 to August 3 to celebrate the anniversary with children’s competitions planned the following weekend.


New faces at Local Enterprise Partnership

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has made two key appointments to its Skills, Education and Employment (SEE) Strategy Group.

The group is responsible for providing direction and strategic support for the delivery of the region’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Sarah Atkinson will bring experience from her role as corporate social responsibility director for FTSE 100 firm Micro Focus.

She is also a trustee at the Berkshire Youth charity which supports, empowers and inspires young people.

Another appointment is Maggie Neale, who works as a workforce development manager for Berkshire West NHS. She said: “Without a skilled and motivated workforce, healthcare providers will struggle to continue to provide the excellent care that we all expect.

“I want to use my role on the Strategy Group to help equip young people with the right skills to create a more prosperous future for Berkshire. I also want to inspire them that healthcare can be a fantastic and rewarding career to pursue.”

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has invested an additional £3.1million of Local Growth Funds to support skills projects as part of its growth deal with the Government.

Projects include a Care Skills Training Centre at Reading College which will focus on the healthcare sector.


Thames Water gives help to jobseekers

Jobseekers in Slough have been offered the chance to experience working for Thames Water.

The Give Someone a Start programme, which offers work experience placements at sites around the region, launched a course in the town on July 1.

A group of six people spent three weeks with the wastewater team at the customer solution centre in Cambridge Avenue.

They were given CV writing, interview and communication workshops as well as shadowing existing staff and taking part in site visits.


Gardner Leader raises £7,166 for charity

A total of £7,166 has been raised for charity by solicitors Gardner Leader over the past 12 months.

Staff from the firm’s Maidenhead, Newbury and Thatcham offices earned the cash by taking part in a Beard-Athon, completing a charity cycle ride and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

It will be donated to Swings and Smiles which provides a play area for disabled children in Berkshire.

The charity said it was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support.

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