Day Opps 4 All at Hamelin Trust

Day Opps 4 All aims to increase capacity and deliver extra support to adults and young people with learning disabilities across Essex. We are looking to expand our service to provide more opportunities in the areas of woodwork, furniture restoration, sewing, IT refurbishment, recycling and retail.

Currently we can only support 37 adults and young people with work based learning opportunities, including woodwork and furniture restoration, sewing, IT refurbishment, recycling and retail experience in our charity shop, The Hub.

This project aims to increase this by almost double by focusing on two key areas: workshops and The Hub.

The first part of the project will create a dedicated furniture restoration workshop to benefit our existing service users, who currently have to share a small workshop with those recycling IT equipment. This will enable both projects to have independent, specifically designed areas, improving the standard of the work based learning opportunities we can provide, as well as increasing the number of users we can support.

The project is primarily driven by three main factors:
1. The joint workshop is extremely busy and already at maximum capacity for both projects
2. Sharing a space is far from ideal with wood work dust passing across the space to those undertaking IT activities
3. The exit and entry point for our service users is currently through our charity shop, The Hub, which is an unsupervised route and is open to members of the public

The project will address all of these by firstly creating an additional eight spaces per day (currently we can only accommodate 10 service users across woodwork and IT). Secondly, by partitioning the workshops, no dust from the woodwork areas will contaminate the IT project area. Thirdly, the inclusion of extra doorways into both project areas will mean that our service users do not need to enter and exit through our charity shop. This will have a huge impact from a health and safety and safeguarding perspective.

By extending into our charity shop, The Hub, to create the extra room for our increased project areas. The second part of the project will focus on clawing back this area, through the development of a dedicated clothing and sorting area for donated goods, as well as the improvement of storage facilities through the purchase of storage containers. These changes will also improve the space and flow of the shop enabling Hamelin Trust to provide further opportunities for existing and new service users to develop their skills in a retail environment.

The two project focus areas outlined above will provide greater opportunities for choice, skill development and confidence building for service users who can choose to alternate between any of the different areas. Each project requires varying skill sets, enabling the build up of transferable skills and increasing employability. The Hub redevelopment will also help increase communication skills with the general public for those looking to gain retail experience. Most importantly, the Day Opps 4 All project will enable us to increase capacity to our services, which are currently at maximum capacity.

Our short term project aims, to address the three driving factors outlined above, will be easily met once Day Opps 4 All is completed. In the long term we aim to replicate the considerable success of our Roots and Shoots programme, a horticultural project at our site in Rochford. This project teaches gardening and agriculture skills and has resulted in the employment of 19 of our service users. We plan to take our learnings from Roots and Shoots to make Day Opportunities as successful in the long term, building up our beneficiaries transferable skills resulting in increased prospects of paid employment.