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Social enterprise scheme opens in Beccles

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 June 2014

A new social enterprise has opened in Beccles

A new social enterprise has opened in Beccles

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A successful Norwich charity has set up its first social enterprise in north Suffolk.

STEP (Standing Together Empowering People) was founded eight years ago by a group of women who wanted to make a difference to vulnerable women trying to escape a life of abuse, addiction or exploitation.

Sharel @ STEP opened on Tuesday in Northgate, Beccles, and will incorporate a food bank, tea room and drop-in centre designed to offer vulnerable people the opportunity to establish a home environment to be proud of.

It will offer emotional help and support, but also practical aid by stocking good quality secondhand furniture at affordable prices.

The drop-in centre will link with other agencies to give people 
financial guidance and all profits will be ploughed back into Step to 
ensure the sustainability and 
growth of the project. Theresa Cumbers, director of programmes for STEP, said although the enterprise had been set up with vulnerable people and their families in mind, it was open to the whole community: “Our aim in STEP is to provide a sense of family and community where the women and their families can be encouraged to grow in confidence and self-esteem.

“We have seen many hurting lives changed for the good of themselves, their children and extended families.

“Part of our earlier vision was to start a social enterprise project which would help us sustain core costs for the work to carry on. Our thoughts were that it would be in Norwich first. We believe Beccles will be the blueprint for Norwich – especially as we have located the ideal premises in Norwich, but we are patient and know we have been supported and encouraged to begin the social enterprise in Beccles.”

For more information, or to volunteer, call 01502 217891 or email stepoffice1@yahoo.co.uk. To donate furniture, call 0800 1300 466.

Are you working on a new social enterprise? Email louisa.lay@archant.co.uk

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