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Shop closure threat means jobs of disabled in jeopardy
A SHOP set up by a collective of non-profit organisations to create opportunities for people with learning difficulties could close at the end of the month.
We Are Your Emporium, in Micklegate, is run by 11 social enterprises or not-for-profit organisations and was set up as a pop-up shop and art gallery manned by and selling goods made by disabled people and people with learning difficulties.
It had a temporary lease until the end of September and June Tranmer, who is on the steering group of We Are Your Emporium, said the landlord, York Conservation Trust, had offered them three more months rent-free to enable them to trade through the busy Christmas trading period.
But while the organisation had been given £3,000 start-up funding from City of York Council , its annual rates bill came in at £4,000 and because it is a social enterprise rather than a charity, it does not benefit from rate relief.
She said they were working with the council to try to pay in instalments, but faced closure if a solution could not be found.
Ronnie Milner works in the shop every Thursday and has picked up his old skill of “seagrassing” chairs, which he used to do in the 1970s.
He replaces the seagrass in old chairs, which are decorated for sale in the shop, or takes commissions to mend people’s chairs.
He said the thought of closure was a blow for everybody.
“We have been open since the Queen came to visit York on April 5 and it has been a very good success.
“We knew it was temporary, but we were hoping to continue until Christmas.”
June said she hoped the shop could carry on and set a template for for other like-minded organisations around the country.
“Ronnie just gets so much out of being in that shop on Thursdays. He loves making his seagrass chairs and he’s so good at it. Everybody loves the quality of the stuff. It’s really good,” she said.
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