Plane Tree owner, Shelly Wood with young workers Declan and James

Beeston non-profit organisation provides young people with additional needs the opportunity to develop new life skills and gain employability experience.

Plane Tree opened its doors on High Street last November allowing young people to learn a range of new skills and improve their confidence.

The inclusive workplace sells and supports over 25 local artists work from earrings to cards.

In the East Midlands 3.1 per cent of people with a learning disability, who are known to their local authority and are in paid working roles, the national figure previously stood at 5.1 per cent.

Plane Tree owner, Shelly Wood, said: “The Plane Tree is a community interest company set up to create opportunities for positive social engagement and employment for young adults with additional needs within the wider community.”

She added: “We believe strongly that every individual has a place in society and while some may benefit from supported training all of us have assets to offer.

“The Plane Tree name is taken from one of Aesops fables which teaches how our best qualities are easily overlooked.”

“The benefits of engaging in training in our small shop may be to impact on confidence, communication, independence as well as workplace skills such as custom service, stock management, display, cleaning and till use.”

“Functional literacy and numeracy skills are developed every day in this environment.”

Shelly previously worked at a special school where approximately 70 per cent of pupils expressed a preference to do some sort of work.

She said: “Since opening we have been blown away by the public interest and local support we have received.

“James and Declan work together Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Lataya and Adam look after the shop Thursdays and Fridays, Jamie supports every Saturday.”

Following and supporting Plane Tree via Instagram and Facebook and getting the word out there about our work helps the team when applying for funding bids.

She added: “Visiting the shop, browsing or buying is what we really need to keep us busy and to raise the profile of young people with additional needs and our brilliant local artists.

“Businesses can really help by getting in touch with us or even their local schools, make space for pupils with additional needs to gain a bit of workplace experience.”

Plane Tree trainee, James, said: “I really enjoy working in the shop, I’m very good at practical things and DIY.

“I can be very shy about speaking to new people but I’ve really improved that since working here.”

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