Members of a mental health charity's support group in Banbury have boosted their digital skills and entered the world of online sales.
An innovative ‘online sales skills’ project has been teaching members of Restore’s North Oxfordshire Recovery Group how to set up and run their own web shop.
Those involved in the group will now be able to sell their handmade jewellery, gifts and cards, and Restore merchandise, online to reach a bigger audience to their current shop.
The project, funded by Sanctuary Housing, Activate Learning and Cherwell District Council, will allow other Restore groups in Oxfordshire to sell their goods and may even inspire some new businesses.
Jacqui Vincent-Potter, from Restore, said: “The online store will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the items our talented members produce, as well as helping generate more funds for the day-to-day running of Restore.
“This project has delivered valuable and sustainable skills to our members and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has made it possible and to Sanctuary for its continuing support of our work helping people through their recovery journey.”
Restore offers a welcoming and supportive environment for people to socialise and learn new skills such as woodwork, cooking and arts and crafts.
Members already run their own shop selling their hand-crafted goods and the charity's merchandise but now they will be able to showcase their wares to a much wider audience, with the launch of their online store on the Restore website.
Sessions have covered everything from the basics of building a web page to photographing items and developing policies for deliveries and returns.
The online store will also be used by Restore’s other support groups across the county, while it is hoped the skills and confidence gained may even inspire members to set up their own micro-enterprises.
Sanctuary neighbourhood partnerships manager Kate Winstanley said: “We are committed to supporting projects that help residents grow their skills and access new opportunities.
“Restore offers such a valuable and important service to local people, aiding their recovery and helping them to move forward and live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.”
Michael Hewitt, economic growth officer for Cherwell District Council, added: “The rapid growth of self-employment has been a pronounced feature of the UK labour market, and self-employment here in Cherwell has grown by over 2,000 in the last two years.
“Projects like this that give people the skills to succeed are vital to supporting that growth.”