A timber and signage firm that supports adults who have learning or physical disabilities to train for or remain in the world of work is celebrating its best year since before the recession began in 2008.
Enterprise Works, which has provided supported employment in Swindon for more than 60 years, is a division of SEQOL, the Swindon-based social enterprise that delivers adult social care and community health services and is owned by its own employees and local GP practices.
Manager Matt Morrison-Clarke, who came to SEQOL from a sales and marketing background in retail, says that the past 12 months has seen a dramatic improvement in performance.
“Enterprise Works has seen its highest sales figures to date for the past seven years or more,” said Matt.
“At the beginning of this year we made some substantial changes, including improvements in stock management and in merchandising. We also concentrated on embedding teamwork, and focusing on our customers’ needs, which had a sharp positive effect on productivity. On the supported employment side, I’m delighted to say that we have not only taken on far more new trainees, but have also exceeded our progression targets, getting many more trainees through our programme and into permanent employment.
“This approach, allied with building far stronger relationships with our suppliers, has dramatically improved our bottom line and our commercial independence. As a result, we are now busy planning to increase the range of products we offer, extend our trading hours and increase our marketing activity. The ongoing success of our trading activity underpins our core strategic aim, which is supporting a workforce predominantly made up of adults with disability in Swindon and Wiltshire.
Regular customer Paul Johnson of Johnson Gardening Services, which holds contracts with a range of commercial and private clients, says Enterprise Works is always his first port of call for fencing and timber.
“The quality of wood is excellent and the level of workmanship at Enterprise Works far exceeds what the big national retailers offer, and yet the prices are very reasonable indeed,” said Paul.
“It’s an added bonus that the people who serve you are really engaged and interested as well, and genuinely know what they are talking about. They also help you load your van, which is really helpful. Add to that the fact that all the profit is ploughed back into the community, and it seems like a no-brainer to me. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”
SEQOL Enterprise Works is situated at Unit 1a on Gipsy Lane and opens from 7.45am to 4.30pm Mondays to Thursdays, from 7.45am to 4pm on Fridays and from 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. For more information ring 01793 464646 or go to www.seqol.org/enterprise-works