York shop providing training for people with learning disabilities seeks new premises

York Press: FLASHBACK: Ronnie Milner cuts the tape to officially open Mermaid and Miller in Swinegate in 2013. Picture : Garry Atkinson FLASHBACK: Ronnie Milner cuts the tape to officially open Mermaid and Miller in Swinegate in 2013. Picture : Garry Atkinson

THE hunt is on to find new premises to secure the future of a York shop which provides training for people with learning disabilities.

Mermaid and Miller is looking for a new venue after more than a year trading from its shop in Swinegate.

The not-for-profit social enterprise, which is run as a co-operative and sells goods made by disabled people, has been unable to extend the lease on its current property.

Shop manager Paul Jones says staff were "gutted" to be in the position of having to find somewhere new but vowed "the show will go on".

He said: "We always find a way, though we owe it to our trainees to search for the best place for us to grow and develop.

"This is really a plea to help us find a shop space that we can afford and that works for the people we support."

The shop is run by the Blueberry Academy, which trains people with learning difficulties at the Melbourne Centre, Fishergate.

Mermaid & Miller was formed as a cooperative in early 2012, and profits from sales of the works are distributed between its members.

Its pieces were sold at the We Are Your Emporium shop in Micklegate then the Blueberry Academy decided to set up its own shop in April last year.

The shop also stocks goods from other local organisations, including Brunswick Organic Nursery, and The Disabled Workers co-operative.

On hearing the news that Mermaid and Miller has not secured its lease, the York Disabled Workers Co-operative said in a statement: "We would like to say how disappointed we were to hear that the Mermaid and Miller retail shop in Swinegate is soon going to lose the premises.

"We are one of the organisations who have been able to sell our products via the shop since it opened.

"It has been a great opportunity for us not only to sell our products, but to spread the word about our organisation and the goods we produce.

"Our aim is to employ disabled people and provide them with support, while producing wooden goods of a very high standard.

"We very much hope that Mermaid and Miller will be able to continue trading, and that we can be a part of it well into the future."

Mr Jones added: "It is important to keep costs down, so that money can be reinvested into the service for the trainees, and essential to have accessible premises so that people with limited mobility can fully access the training.

"Mermaid and Miller is looking for offers of affordable temporary or permanent accommodation within York to continue this successful project."

Comments (8)

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9:59am Wed 28 May 14

CaroleBaines says...

The Blueberry Academy do some fantastic work - all the very best of luck in terms of finding new premises for Mermaid & Miller.
The Blueberry Academy do some fantastic work - all the very best of luck in terms of finding new premises for Mermaid & Miller. CaroleBaines
  • Score: 15

10:08am Wed 28 May 14

greenmonkey says...

Must be plenty of places they could move to short term, if the landlord is willing to give a decent discount on an otherwise empty shop. Some really important work, do hope they can find somewhere suitable.
Must be plenty of places they could move to short term, if the landlord is willing to give a decent discount on an otherwise empty shop. Some really important work, do hope they can find somewhere suitable. greenmonkey
  • Score: 13

10:52am Wed 28 May 14

shartin says...

Do hope they find somewhere suitable soon.! Micklegate still seems to have a few empty shops,anything there?
Do hope they find somewhere suitable soon.! Micklegate still seems to have a few empty shops,anything there? shartin
  • Score: 4

10:59am Wed 28 May 14

BL2 says...

How about the Space 109 (or whatever) place in Walmgate? That's been shut for ages now with no-one else moving in?
How about the Space 109 (or whatever) place in Walmgate? That's been shut for ages now with no-one else moving in? BL2
  • Score: 3

11:50am Wed 28 May 14

acomblass says...

Plenty of property in Acomb too if only the landlords would realise it is better to get some rent rather than leave premises empty.
Plenty of property in Acomb too if only the landlords would realise it is better to get some rent rather than leave premises empty. acomblass
  • Score: 3

3:34pm Wed 28 May 14

mike.......durkin says...

well done for all ho work there nic e t9o see john and chistine there.
well done for all ho work there nic e t9o see john and chistine there. mike.......durkin
  • Score: 4

3:47pm Wed 28 May 14

mike.......durkin says...

its a shame its going.. i work at the disabled worker co operative where we take nice product wot we made..we all verry sad to hear..hope things will get sorted out...
its a shame its going.. i work at the disabled worker co operative where we take nice product wot we made..we all verry sad to hear..hope things will get sorted out... mike.......durkin
  • Score: 2

9:05pm Wed 28 May 14

yorkandproud says...

Good old Ronnie. He used to get on the bus I caught home from school 40 odd years ago. He some times had something he had made at work with him. He once got on the bus with a blooming great clothes prop with him. I bet the drivers nowadays wouldn't have let him on with it.
Good old Ronnie. He used to get on the bus I caught home from school 40 odd years ago. He some times had something he had made at work with him. He once got on the bus with a blooming great clothes prop with him. I bet the drivers nowadays wouldn't have let him on with it. yorkandproud
  • Score: 2

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