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Posted on Dec 22 2017 by Bobbie Kelly

Stellar year for Workbridge

It has been a great year for Workbridge, our vocational centre where people with mental illness, learning disabilities or brain injuries can gain skills and build confidence in a supportive work environment.

This year, Workbridge has won a plethora of awards, delivered 166 more sessions per week than last year, and welcomed 112 groups for tours. Many of the people who attend Workbridge are patients from St Andrew’s Healthcare or members of the community, who are mentored by skilled staff across a variety of work activities to encourage independence, respect, teamwork and trust.

Next year promises even bigger and brighter things. Looking to the future, Lynn Whenmouth, Service Manager, explained: “2018 is set to be an exciting time for Workbridge as we continue to seek new and exciting opportunities to allow our service users to reach their full potential. 

“The Workbridge team will continue to work together to create an environment where our service users can learn new skills and create handcrafted products that they can see being purchased by our loyal customers. 

"We will be tasting the first batch of freshly-made bread baked by our service users in our new bakery, and we hope that our Employment Support pledge will see more of our service users progress into meaningful employment. It’s going to be a busy year and we are keen to keep you all up to date with our progress via our website, social media and onsite posters.

“Thank you for your support in 2017, it really does make a difference to people’s lives. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2018."

Each week around 250 people access Workbridge to build upon their work and life skills. Workbridge is part of St Andrew’s Healthcare, the UK’s leading mental health charity - click here to read more about Workbridge.

Workbridge 2017 highlights

March 2017 - Our staff and service users celebrated International Women’s Day by taking part in music workshops and a treasure hunt, and by making handcrafted goods and textiles for the craft fair

March 2017 – We welcomed visitors from Forensicare in Australia, who toured Workbridge to find out more about what we offer (and to take ideas home to Oz!)

May 2017 – We held a Workbridge fashion show! Service usersdressed in fine garments donated to our Charity Shop

May 2017 – Service users from Workbridge worked with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club to create flower planters and hanging baskets, displayed at County Ground

June 2017 – Workbridge launched a new Employment Support service, to help give service users real-life work experience

June 2017 – The Workbridge Coffee Shop started opening 7 days a week

June 2017 – Workbridge video launched – watch it here!

June 2017 – Workbridge team won GOLD at BBC Gardeners’ World Live. A team of green-fingered service users helped grow an array of bedding plants used in The Nostalgia Garden 

July 2017 – Workbridge shortlisted for two National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards

July 2017 – Workbridge purchased a new coffee machine, which helps us to serve our customers delicious beverages

July 2017 – Workbridge staff and service users went on a trip to Wicksteed Park, and enjoyed the rides and amusements

August 2017 – Workbridge team attended a ‘bake off’, and are named as finalists in the Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year category of the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards

September 2017 – Workbridge welcomed a team of volunteers from Lloyds Banking Group, who gave up their time to tidy, plant, prune and organise our Workbridge site and garden centre

October 2017 – The Employment Support service supported their first person into paid employment

November 2017 – Workbridge supported Mencap’s Learning Disability Work Week (#LDWorkWeek), and holds an open day which attracts over 100 attendees

November 2017 – Workbridge Coffee Shop won Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year at the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards

November 2017 – St Andrew’s and Workbridge opened a new bakery, to help service users learn new skills

November 2017 – New Birmingham Workbridge expansion project was given the green light and approved by the Board (coming soon)

December 2017 – The Workbridge Christmas Craft Fair was attended by Father Christmas himself, as well as a selection of local craftspeople and traders.