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October 7, 2011

Valued member of Business Network SW, West of England School and College for young people with little or no sight’s new charity shop is opening on the 15th October at 12.30pm in Exmouth and they would like to spread the word about the grand opening!

They are all really excited about the launch of the Exmouth charity shop, which joins outlets in Exeter and in Honiton, as well as an eBay centre on campus. Strong links with partner organisations such as Dawlish Garden Trust and Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust and other local employer organisations extend this network for students at WESC to have the opportunity for regular work experience.

Join them for a slice of cake, a glass of something bubbly and to raise your glass to this fantastic new Social Enterprise shop for visually impaired young people.

We are extremely lucky to have the Mayor of Exmouth and the Town Crier joining us.

The new Exmouth shop offers even more students the chance to learn incredibly important skills; from meeting and greeting customers to practical skills such as till operation and the daily running of a busy retail outlet.  But this is not just about learning retail skills in support of vocational qualifications, what’s important is the opportunity to interact with fellow workers and the public. With close but progressively relaxed support over time, barriers are lowered and a new confidence discovered.

21 year old Lewis is a great example of how this works. Lewis is severely sight impaired and autistic. Normally, Lewis dressed in a heavy coat and pulled-down peak hat and most of his minimal conversation was with his tutor and one trusted learning support worker.

With gentle but firm encouragement Lewis was introduced to work in the Exeter shop. Over time simple tasks; stacking boxes, dusting a shelf, gave way to preparing clothes and displaying goods for sale. The very close support from a team of LSWs (Learning SupportWorkers) and the shop trainer/manager over nine months extended his opportunities for different conversations and interactions and this has paid off handsomely.

Today Lewis handles till transactions independently, giving the correct change and engaging customers in basic conversation.

Lewis’ tutor, Henry says:

 “The knock-on effect of Lewis’ work experience is markedly improved communication skills, a more relaxed attitude and greater interaction with peers and staff in the college. Lewis’ progress has been truly inspiring.”

The new shop in Exmouth means that more student’s attending WESC will have the opportunity to grow in independence and confidence just like Lewis has.

Please do spread the word and invite your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

If you would like any more information or would like to help by handing out information on the day please get in touch with Caroline Burkie on 01392 454 334

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