The Workbridge Shop & Studio is a gift shop and charity shop supporting service users at Workbridge with retail work experience AND showcasing the products and creative talents of adults with a range of mental health needs.
"Dorothy wanted to create a place that provided work and training. She took the opportunity to turn the Old Laundry onto Workbridge. It was Dorothy behind many of the good things that Mind and later Workbridge achieved in those formative years." Extract from Michael Jones about Workbridge co-founder Dorothy Davidson, spoken by Anne Jones.
Workbridge has officially opened their new shop and studio on Bedford Road, Northampton.
For 41 years, Workbridge has been supporting people across Northamptonshire with a learning disability, brain injury, mental illness or autism to gain work skills. Workbridge was founded by Dorothy Davidson, social worker at St Andrew’s Healthcare and Michael Jones, local businessman and former Chair of Mind Northamptonshire. Workbridge has been part of St Andrew’s Healthcare since 2009.
The Workbridge Shop and Studio was officially opened on Tuesday 29th June with St Andrew's Chief Executive, Katie Fisher in attendance alongside current directors of Michael Jones' family business, now cooperative, Michael Jones Jeweller. Also in attendance was Michael Jones’s widow Anne Jones, as well as long serving volunteers of the Workbridge charity shop, service users and instructors from Workbridge.
The new Shop & Studio has been created to showcase the wonderful gifts that Workbridge create with their service users. The shop also sells pre-loved items donated by the community and provides a supported retail experience where service users can gain work skills. Gifts include ceramic and wood turned items made by service users in their sessions.
Helen Burdett-Wright, Head of Workbridge led the speeches and tributes at the event opening:
"The teams at Workbridge have worked incredibly hard on the refurbishment of Workbridge Shop & Studio. Our Woodwork and Woodturning departments, along with volunteers and service users have designed and created all of the internal timber cladding and furniture. Everything was made in session at Workbridge this year during the lockdown periods.
Many colleagues have helped out from across Workbridge - organising the works as well as preparing products ready to go inside from each department. I am incredibly proud of the team, their creative talents and the brilliant teamwork displayed.
The Workbridge Shop & Studio would not be here today without the support and vision of a dedicated group of Workbridge volunteers who started the Workbridge charity shop in 2004, many of whom are with us today.
The Charity Shop’s transformation today as Workbridge Shop & Studio is thanks to the support of Michael Jones Jeweller. Michael Jones was one of the inspirational founders of Workbridge, and we are proud to have Anne Jones with us today to celebrate the opening.
Michael helped to create Workbridge in June 1980 and was Chair of Workbridge for a number of years. He was ever present at events, fundraising and Workbridge socials and was much loved and respected member of the Workbridge family.
When Michael passed away in 2017, he left a legacy for Workbridge through the Michael Jones Community Fund.
Michael Jones Jeweller have continued to support Workbridge. In 2019, Michael Jones Jeweller celebrated their centenary and Workbridge was chosen as the charity of the evening.
I was very honoured to be invited along to speak at this wonderful fundraising evening. I was accompanied by Tom Cooney who is one of our service users and volunteers. Tom spoke passionately about Workbridge and his own circumstances and experiences in coming to Workbridge. It was a very heartfelt speech. The event raised over £24,000 for Workbridge and for that we are eternally grateful.
Thanks to the funds raised that evening and the continued support of the Michael Jones Community Fund, we have been able to refurbish the unit (behind me) and officially open it today as the Workbridge Shop and Studio.
The bespoke pieces created by our service users are wonderful and we hope lots of people will support their efforts by visiting our new gift shop. We look forward to welcoming you inside." Helen Burdett-Wright, Head of Workbridge