Lack of de­mand shuts up shop

The Chronicle - - News - By KATHRYN RID­DELL Re­porter kathryn.rid­dell@ncj­me­


A PRINT shop which of­fered work ex­pe­ri­ence to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and men­tal health prob­lems has shut down.

Some cus­tomers were sur­prised to see Ca­pa­bil­ity’s print stu­dio on Heaton Road, New­cas­tle, had shut its doors.

The shop had of­fered work op­por­tu­ni­ties for those with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties or men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties as a way to gain vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence.

But the de­ci­sion was taken to close up the shop in Septem­ber and fo­cus on the ca­ter­ing busi­ness next door.

The work place­ments will con­tinue in the FoodWorks cafe next door with up to ten peo­ple a day gain­ing vi­tal work ex­pe­ri­ence.

Sup­port and em­ploy­ment ser­vices man­ager, Steve Wil­liamson, said: “We’re chang­ing the service over­all.

“This meant a move away from print. We’ve fi­nally stopped op­er­at­ing that as a busi­ness.”

Mr Wil­liamson said the de­ci­sion had been made be­cause the de­mand for print prod­ucts had fallen.

Part of New­cas­tle City Coun­cil’s sup­ported em­ploy­ment service, the shop em­ployed two peo­ple but one left be­fore the clo­sure and the sec­ond was given an­other role.

Now the service is fo­cus­ing on ca­ter­ing with around ten peo­ple a day work­ing in the FoodWorks cafe next door to the print shop.

Those with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity or a men­tal health con­di­tion are of­fered train­ing in the cafe to gain skills to se­cure a job.

Mr Wil­liamson added: “It’s a start for some­body who has not got the skills nec­es­sary to start in em­ploy­ment and learn about work prac­tice.

“We sup­port them to get real jobs and to do place­ments out­side the cafe.”

De­spite the print shop clo­sure, jobs have been cre­ated else­where in the city in­clud­ing at a cof­fee cart based in the re­cep­tion area of the Civic Cen­tre.

FoodWorks launched the cart with home­less­ness char­ity Cri­sis, cre­at­ing two full-time jobs and one ap­pren­tice­ship. All prof­its from the cart go back into the sup­ported em­ploy­ment service to help oth­ers.

A New­cas­tle City Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “Over­all, our sup­ported em­ploy­ment service has sup­ported 157 peo­ple since April and em­ploys 31 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 18 posts that are specif­i­cally for peo­ple who have sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment or face in­equal­i­ties in the work­place.”

The FoodWorks cafe on Heaton Road, New­cas­tle

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