MALMESBURY support group Heals has moved into a new dedicated high street base and is planning to expand its services.
The organisation, which helps the vulnerable and needy in the town, has already opened its new office for business and is working on starting up a charity shop with a difference.
“We are in the process of putting together a business plan and we know what we want to do in the shop, but it is a case of getting everything prepared,” manager Alison Cross-Jones said.
Redecoration and new flooring are needed to replace worn carpets, but the group has big plans.
“We will be looking at a charity shop with a difference. The aim is that we have a bit of a drop in centre,” she explained. “there will be information boards, we will also have a jobs board so people can find out about local jobs and we will be able to provide them with internet and phone access so they don’t just come in and see a job, they can apply for it there and then.”
The organisation is also making plans to work more closely with the town’s football club, which is currently trying to repair the financial ravages of two winter seasons ruined by repeated flooding.
Local groups will be able to hire the display window for a small fee to promote themselves and once the shop is up and running , it will offer opportunities to vulnerable or long term unemployed people to gain work experience and customer service qualifications with a view to joining the jobs market.
Although there is not yet enough money to run the shop, the office opened on Thursday and dealt with six people in the space of a few hours.
“Heals does need money because we are increasingly being asked to support people. As well as providing advocacy it is often called on to provide emergency financial support,” said Alison.
In the absence of the food bank, due to open later this month, it has bought food for people in desperate circumstances. It has also been called on to lend out of hours practical and emotional help when social services have been unavailable.
In just over a year the organisation has helped almost 120 local people with a range of problems from homelessness to meeting the cost of vocational training.
Heals is in the Lower High Street or on 10666 238100.