Charity Bank, a bank that lend exclusively to charities and social enterprises, is financially backing a project that will see a chocolate factory and horticulture enterprise being run by people with autism and other disabilities to help them gain employment opportunities and new skills.
Building work is set to begin to transform a number of derelict farm buildings at Park House Farm, North Yorkshire, into a range of micro social enterprises. The buildings were donated to Autism Plus by The Ampleforth Trust and a £350,000 loan from Charity Bank will finance the renovations.
Disabled employees will be trained by skilled chocolatiers and horticulturists to bring chocolate and greens to local retailers. The project aims to help the disabled employees to develop skills for independence and further employment.
Jeremy Ince, Charity Bank’s regional manager for Yorkshire and Humber, said, “A mix of financial expertise and knowledge of the non-profit sector means Charity Bank in uniquely placed to support projects like this.
“The loan will help transform a disused empty space into a centre of excellence, providing meaningful employment opportunities and life skills training to young people with disabilities, tailored to their level of ability.”
In addition to the employment opportunities, the centre will also provide training and education opportunities, ranging from money management and shopping to driving and daily chores. The site will also host a small residential provision for nightly breaks to further learning and offer families respite care.
Philip Bartey, Autism Plus CEO, commented, “Our aim is to create a unique, vibrant, welcoming environment where young people with disabilities can come and have the opportunity to learn how to live more independently and develop better employment skills.”
He added, “The support that we have received from The Ampleforth Trust and financial backers Charity Bank have been instrumental in getting this hugely worthwhile project off the ground. They were quick to share our vision of the space and see how we could help young people with disabilities leaving fell-time education make the transition into a fulfilling adult life.”
Photo: Siona Karen via Flickr