Already the once vacant space next to the former Piping Hot Bakery has handcrafted wooden items lining the wall and sitting upon shelves. There are, among other things, doll cradles, rocking horses and boxes with stars cut out of them for Christmas lights.
“We are setting up a satellite store for the month of December where we’re featuring all the projects that we make at Penny Lane,” says Miller, a program instructor for the Queens Association for Supported Living.
The store, which is a first, is set to open Tuesday, Dec. 4, and the final day will be Thursday, Dec. 20. Staff and clients came up with the idea while talking about how nice it would be to liven Liverpool’s downtown for the Christmas season.
Money from items sold will go back into Penny Lane and help fund the program, including extracurricular activities such as an annual camping trip.
Penny Lane Enterprises, says Miller, is a training centre for individuals with special needs. It provides a work-based environment and community-based employment.
Miller says some of the jobs include woodworking, confidential shredding, making promotional buttons and there is the store at Riverbank in Mill Village.
A pre-vocational program provides life-skill training to clients who don’t have skills to create the woodwork. The transitional program is pre-employment, in which clients are gaining skills to move onto woodworking and the vocational end.
“Riverbank is part of our vocational training and community-based employment,” says Miller.
Clients work on some items, like the birdhouses, all year. Construction of the Christmas-themed pieces began about a month and a half ago. There are 10 to 15 clients who do the woodworking, says Miller.
The satellite store across from A-1 Pizza will be open Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a staff member and client working in the store.
“This would not have been possible without the support of Bruce Inglis and Sun Life Financial, David Hatt’s Auto Sale and Josh Morash,” says Miller.
For more information about Penny Lane Enterprises, visit http://goo.gl/Kk5J8
To find about the Queens Association for Supported Living, go to http://www.qasl.ca/index.php.