A charity in Sudbury which supports adults with disabilities and disadvantages has expanded its operation into retail.
The Bridge Project has acquired the Bazaar gift shop, in Gainsborough Street, a few doors away from its head office, where it runs a dementia cafe, ceramic classes and a meal delivery service.
Chief executive Jo Searle said the social enterprise had struck a deal with the outgoing owners of Bazaar, John and Susie Butcher, who have retired, to take over the shop.
It will provide adults with disabilities and disadvantages who attend The Bridge Project with experience of working in a retail environment and work experience.
Ms Searle said: “John and Susie ran Bazaar for 28 years. They told us they are delighted the shop will keep running in Sudbury, continuing their legacy, and that they support the opportunity it gives The Bridge Project service users to gain retail experience.”
A new retail manager, Bridget Baldwin, has been recruited to run the shop.
The Bridge Project was set up in 1995 and is dedicated to supporting people living with dementia, learning disabilities and mental health issues in the community. Its café, also in Gainsborough Street, offers freshly cooked meals and it runs a dementia cafe and support group, as well as a ceramic painting facility.
The charity’s meal delivery service has doubled in size over the last two years and is now providing 50 meals a day to residents in Long Melford, Acton, Great Waldingfield and Great and Little Cornard.
Ms Searle said the charity is also looking at running a pop-up cafe in St Peter’s from March.
It recently ran an appeal through the Free Press to held find a home to rent in Sudbury for two people with learning disabilities, with a live-in house parent.
The appeal was launched after a terminally-ill single parent asked The Bridge Project to help their child find somewhere to live before they died.
Ms Searle added: “We did manage to find somewhere; someone came forward to help.”
Board of trustees chairman Paul Mackman said: “The Bridge Project has always been cutting edge and we think this is a unique solution to social housing for people who need to live independently, with support.”