Bringing the community together: 5 ways you can help a Suffolk charity support adults with learning difficulties

Homemade tea cosies and cards for sale at Waveney Enterprises craft shop In Beccles

You'll find beautiful handmade home decorations and gifts to buy at the Beccles craft shop. - Credit: Waveney Enterprises

Craft groups can help reduce loneliness and boost self-confidence in those with learning difficulties.

“We offer individuals an opportunity to be creative, have fun, meet friends and develop new skills,” says Emma Langdale, manager of Waveney Enterprises Craft Workshop in Beccles.

Situated in a stunning Grade II listed building and complete with a secret garden, the workshop delivers a relaxed environment where individuals feel safe. “Carers can also rest easy, and take a break, knowing their loved ones will be well looked after,” Emma explains.

The workshop relies on the contributions and kindness of the local community to continue its work. Emma adds: “It’s support from residents and businesses that enables us to reach those that need our help.”

Below, she reveals five ways you can help the charity and those living in Suffolk with additional needs:

1. Contribute spare craft materials to Waveney Enterprises

We’re always in need of arts and craft materials. If you have any newspaper, crafting fabric or wool lying about the home, we can put it to good use. Donated materials allow us to organise papier mâché projects, embroidery and sewing activities.

Waveney Enterprises craft workshop supports people in Suffolk with learning difficulties

All proceeds made at the craft shop go towards benefitting the charity and expanding its services. - Credit: Waveney Enterprises

People love getting involved in the sessions. Whether knitting, woodworking, gardening or painting, it helps boost their self-esteem, mental wellbeing and social confidence. They take pride in the crafts they make and can express themselves.

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2. Buy unique handcrafted items from the Beccles craft shop

The items made by our services users are sold in our craft shop. The proceeds all go towards bolstering our services and improving the charity. We’re an independent, not-for-profit organisation.

Each piece is made from recycled materials or donated objects we’ve upcycled – so they’re completely sustainable. They’re also handcrafted, high quality and beautifully bespoke. Our ever-changing designs of tea cosies, cushions, woodwork, prints and cards make lovely gifts or eye-catching home decor.

The service users often work alongside us in the shop, practicing handling cash, interacting with others and gaining invaluable retail experience. This can help them find other volunteer positions or work placements and gain a sense of independence.

3. Make a donation

You can visit us in-store or get in touch by phone or email to make a cash donation. Even a small amount goes a long way towards helping us continue our services and allowing the charity to evolve.

Waveney Enterprises charity in Suffolk is a not-for-profit organisation for those with learning needs.

Service users enjoy getting involved with craft projects - it enables them to meet new people and boosts their confidence. - Credit: Waveney Enterprises

4. Become a volunteer or trustee

If you have a passion for arts and crafts and want to give back to the community or help those with learning difficulties, then you may be perfect for our team. You can volunteer to help us lead the workshop activities, manage the shop or run fundraising events. We also have a board of trustees that you can join. We’re always in need of more people to support us moving forward and to help secure the future of the charity.

5. Raise awareness of Waveney Enterprises Craft Workshop

We want to raise awareness of our service, and let people know we’re here for them. We’re a person-centred day service that’s dedicated to supporting those with mild to moderate learning difficulties and mental health needs.

By helping us spread the word about what we do, you can help us reach individuals and carers that can benefit from coming to the workshop. We offer placements to people that are self-funded or receive support from the local authority. They are available for one to five days, Monday to Friday. 

We understand it can be daunting for carers and users when first joining a new service. We can assist with paperwork and liaise with social workers to help you put the care package together. You can also attend a free taster day to decide if our group is right for you.

To book a place, enquire about attending an open day, or find ways you can support us, visit waveneyenterprises.co.uk. Contact 01502 716065 or email wavent4@btinternet.com.

Find us at Waveney Enterprises, 13 Smallgate, Beccles, NR34 9AB.