KING’S LYNN: Inspiring people to help others
It’s been a busy start to the year for the Purfleet Trust with the opening of a halfway house for the homeless last week, and now the opening of a new charity shop and tea rooms in Fairstead.
Part of the charity’s Pathway to Inclusion Project, a two-year pilot to get people off the streets, is also helping unemployed people across West Norfolk to gain qualifications and training to help get them into work.
Paula Hall, chief executive for the charity, said: “We wanted to change that culture of people looking forward to getting their benefits and seeing that as a lifestyle. We want to stop that and get people back into work.
“Even in today’s employment market, there are jobs out there and you can get them with the right training and by showing commitment - volunteering is a good way of doing that.
“These projects can have a huge impact on the community by bringing back people who have been written off by employers, or who have written themselves off.”
The charity’s latest venture is a new charity shop and tea rooms in Fairstead which will be able to provide volunteers with training and qualifications while bringing a new service to the estate.
She added: “By introducing a high-standard of customer service and quality of products to the local community, we can deliver a high level of training to our volunteers.
“When we asked around, tea rooms were repeatedly asked for and we felt that being in our shop, The Olive Branch, they could become a centre for the Fairstead community.
“Our charity shop has been up and running since the start of January, but now we are working on getting our catering facilities and tea rooms up and running by the end of this month.”
The shop can be found at the end of the row of shops at Centre Point, Fairstead.
She added: “All of our volunteers are able to gain qualifications in catering, retail, hospitality, business and administration, window dressing and customer service among others, but most importantly they are learning on the job.”
The charity shop is already providing volunteer work for eight to ten trainees but once the tea rooms are up and running there will be several others working in the kitchens.
The Purfleet Trust has another project in the pipeline, The Olive Branch 2 is a plan to take over the Hillington Square community centre as part of Freebridge’s regeneration project to turn it into a community cafe for residents and construction workers.
“We hope the centre will become a place for families to network after school which could help bring the community closer together while giving our trainees great experience in cooking hot meals for our contruction workers.”
Mrs Hall said: “Freebridge is helping us with the project, their maintenance team have just taken on two people who we helped gain qualifications in painting and decorating, and they are helping to support them into new low-rent homes.
“We’ve got a lot of community groups coming together to help us train these individuals and it’s really nice to see the community taking responsibility for the people who are in need.
“We are lucky in Lynn - so many people have that willingness to help people get out of their situation. I find it inspiring really.”
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Weather for King's Lynn
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
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Wind direction: North west