‘We are your emporium’ is the first collective of social enterprises to take over a shop in the country, offering opportunities for vulnerable people to gain work experience on their road to employment. The enterprise is opening a shop at 89 Micklegate on 4 April, and will be open between 10.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Saturday.
The emporium is run by eleven organisations that are either social enterprises or not for profit organisations and include:
Natasha Almond, project manager for York CVS said “I am thankful to York’s Conservation Trust for providing us with this opportunity to enable this collective of social enterprises to trade through a shop front, which we hope will have a positive impact on sustaining local services to the most vulnerable in our communities.”
The emporium will showcase local, fairtrade and environmentally friendly products. It will have a shop in the front section, an art gallery in the middle room, with drop-in chair massages available and a hot-desk office space in the back room. The courtyard at the back of the shop has space for showing off the plants and furniture produced by Brunswick Organic Nurseries and York Disabled Workers Cooperative. There will be other groups providing their wares to sell as well.
Lizzy Ferguson, involvement development worker at The Retreat said “Opportunities for vulnerable people to return to work or gain work experience are few and far between. This project offers so many different people the chance to progress on their recovery journey and to acquire the skills and confidence they need to return to work.”