The Carroll Centre operates services and projects that respond to local needs and support children, young people and families. Many of our service users are socially and/or economically disadvantaged and many do not qualifications or a good employment history. To address this we offer volunteering and work experience and training in some of our onsite services. Two years ago we set-up a social enterprise Community Café and Softplay facility, these have provided support and training opportunities for leisure, catering and hospitality employment. The project was thriving and generating funding to support projects for children and young people. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on this service and our ability to continue to generate income to support our community support and youth engagement work.
Our new project involves skills in a different sector enables us to develop another strand of revenue generation that is not dependant on face to face contact. It will allow us continue to provide volunteering and pre-employment training to vulnerable community members that are already socially or economically disadvantaged and help them to develop work skills and confidence. The project will provide training for working in small scale manufacturing and the online service industry and an opportunity to gain skills in an employment area that has proven to be more robust in the current economic environment. Participants will also have the opportunity to be mentored by a successful online business owner and to potentially explore e-commerce self-employment/work from home ideas. New skills and knowledge of e-commerce could create more opportunities for people that are already highly vulnerable to economic impacts and contractions in the retail and hospitality sectors.
We started developing this project in October 2020 and have identified that we will make DIY craft kits with high quality eco ingredients that use predominately sustainable materials and ingredients. We have registered the domain Makekits.co.uk, designed labels and branding, identified ideas for our first two kits and purchased a small stock of supplies for producing our first kits. Our challenge now are promoting and marketing the products, fundraising sufficient capital to purchase larger qualities of ingredients and equipment for the kits and covering project staff wages. We own our building and have sufficient project space for this stage of development so this significantly reduces our start-up costs.