Spitalfields Small Business Association Community Trust/ Poetry In Wood
Poetry in Wood has been in operation since 1996.
We have a dedicated staff of five: two running training, two managing the enterprise and a manager.
We have had huge success in training and employing people with learning disabilities who have been written off or excluded elsewhere. We are particularly successful with people on the autistic spectrum who like our regulated structured training day. Most of our graduates of the course with autism have made the transition to employment in our social enterprise.
Our aim is to help the students achieve independence through learning skills which will enable them to gain employment. This comes from our belief in concentrating on ability rather than disability. Our training programme teaches the necessary skills within a creative and supportive environment. It encourages self-esteem and confidence and prepares the student for progression on to the employment project. We have had a lot of success with extending the capabilities of the people who come here. We also believe that by raising the profile of their abilities, we can help change the community’s thinking about people with a learning disability. This in turn will encourage the community to find a place for people who have been excluded. Independence through training and employment are at the heart of everything we do and are a very important resource for an excluded section of the community. Without them, Poetry in Wood ceases to fulfil its vision.
Our training consists of a programme we devised and was accredited by the Open College Network (OCN). Students, with a lot of patience and support from staff, are taken through several units. Each set of units passed is awarded annually by certificates from an external moderator from OCN.
When they pass all the units they have a chance to join our social enterprise team.
The social enterprise operates four days per week. We now have 15 enterprise workers with learning disabilities. Most are employed for two days per week working on commissions from the public and statutory bodies. Our social enterprise workers are involved in every aspect of the commissions from meeting the client, exploring the brief, design and production, and installation. They are excellent advocates for the project as they are immensely proud of their achievements.