The Acorn Woodshack, a social enterprise project launched by the Jersey Employment Trust (JET), has officially become self-sufficient thanks to funding from the Lloyds Bank Foundation for the Channel Islands.
Back in 2014, Lloyds Bank Foundation awarded one of its largest grants totalling £103,220 to JET which supported the launch of its unique conservation project, the Acorn Woodshack. Now, after the three-year grant has ended, the Acorn Woodshack can proudly report that it is completely self-sufficient and has resulted in a total of 190 people benefitting from 538 training and employment opportunities.
The concept of the Woodshack is to recycle and reuse timber so that the amount of wood in the waste stream declines. This scheme offers vulnerable people, those with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions, much needed work experience and training. Over the course of three years 15 people with a disability will have six months or more paid employment thanks to the Woodshack, ten of which went on to secure paid employment with an alternative employer.
Since the launch of the Acorn Woodshack the project has grown immensely. Now at the site there is an independently run café, a showroom to sell the upcycled furniture, and a nursery which specialises in the production of bedding plants and supplies large contracts like Andium Homes and States of Jersey, Department of Infrastructure (DFI). Additionally, off-site, the enterprise was able to secure the contract with DFI in 2016 to provide a reuse centre at La Collette to collect reusable items from the public and sell them.
Jocelyn Butterworth, CEO, Jersey Employment Trust, commented: “The funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation enabled us to employ a manager with the required skills and purchase some key equipment which meant we could hit the ground running. More importantly, we were able to provide the support that our clients require enabling us to provide a far greater range of training and work opportunities.”
She continued: “The Woodshack has far exceeded our expectations in terms of the number of opportunities it has created. To date, the Woodshack has created 15 paid jobs for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, with over 91% of these clients securing long-term paid employment either within Acorn or with other employers in the community. We are pleased to say that the Woodshack is now fully self-financing which means that we can continue to provide this level of support to our clients in the future. None of this would have been possible without the support from the Lloyds Bank Foundation.”
Jo Le Poidevin, Executive Director, Lloyds Bank Foundation for the Channel Islands said: “It’s extremely satisfying to see one of the charities we have funded achieve financial self-sufficiency following their three-year grant. The work opportunities that JET provides through the Woodshack are invaluable. It is particularly pleasing to see how the Woodshack has created employment opportunities through the reuse of timber, delivering both social and environmental benefits for Jersey.”