Experiences inspired offers of work
Doors open for intellectually disabled volunteersKIRSTY LAWRENCE
A Palmerston North woman's experiences with her son have inspired her to offer intellectually disabled volunteer work in her sweet shop.
Humbug on George St in Palmerston North is giving more back to the community than just delicious sweets.
There to help weigh, package, and charge you for your purchases are intellectually disabled shop assistants, and store owners Georgina Goulden and Mary Prichard say that sometimes they do the job even faster than themselves.
Mrs Prichard said that with having a son who has Down syndrome, she realised it would be difficult for him to get work after he finished school.
So she created a business where people with intellectual disabilities could work and gain experience.
Miss Goulden said the concept since opening the store had developed, with the original idea being only to work alongside the intellectually disabled who were still in school.
"But then as soon as we opened we had so many adults coming in asking if their adult child [with special needs] could come in and work, so we expanded that... I guess because we recognised the need for everyone else as well."
Shay Lines, 17, is in his third month of working in the store now, and said that he really enjoyed it.
"I like selling the lollies. [I can] weigh the lollies. It's a good place to work."
Having changed from the shop's previous location at Cuba St to the new home down George St, Miss Goulden said the move allowed the business room for growth.
"It's really good as we have a lot more space in the shop so we can have a lot more people on our roster."
Humbug is run as a business - at present the special-needs workers are there on a voluntary basis.
This is something Mrs Prichard would like to change. "Our aim is to gain enough contacts [and] enough work to open a warehouse and employ disabled young adults throughout the warehouse packaging, weighing, sorting, doing website management and eftpos."
The Humbug duo have high hopes for the future, wanting to create new business ventures for people with disabilities to work and grow in.
"In the future we would like to open a cafe called The Upside of Down... so it would be the upside of [having] down syndrome... challenging people's ideas of what is normal."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?