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/ Overview / News / September 2016 / Secretary of State Visits Social Enterprise Palmer Gardens

Secretary of State Visits Social Enterprise Palmer Gardens

23 September 2016
Shaw Trust today welcomed the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt Hon Damian Green MP to its community social enterprise Palmer Gardens. The Trowbridge based garden centre not only boasts an impressive range of plant and garden products on sale to the public, and an on-site café, but also offers training and employment opportunities to local young disabled people. The Secretary of State met staff and students working at Palmer Gardens and witnessed a work skills training session delivered to a group of enthusiastic students.

Shaw Trust, a national employment, learning and skills charity invests the money it makes from the sales of its products at Palmer Gardens into providing training and work experience opportunities to young disabled people from the local area. The Palmer Gardens Education Programme offers individuals invaluable support with their literacy and numeracy skills, helping them gain career-progressing accredited qualifications in customer service, horticulture and food hygiene. Students can then practically apply their new skills in work opportunities in the Palmer Gardens shop, café and garden centre.

The Secretary of State was guided around Palmer Gardens by two successful Palmer Gardens students, Matthew Sherman and Katie Bull. Matthew and Katie have both been participating in training and work experience in the retail shop and café respectively. Shaw Trust’s Chief Executive, Roy O’Shaughnessy also accompanied Matthew and Katie on the tour.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, said:
“I am delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to Shaw Trust’s Palmer Gardens site. Palmer Gardens provides fantastic opportunities for young disabled people to participate valuable training and work experience opportunities, which equip them with the skills they need to start successful careers.

The work of the team of Palmer Gardens epitomises the very ethos of Shaw Trust. By working hard to sell quality garden products and food through the Palmer Gardens shop and café, we can invest in supporting local young disabled people to gain the skills and experience they need to secure sustainable work. Palmer Gardens is also a popular community institution in Trowbridge. It has therefore been a privilege to showcase the work of the staff and students at the Palmer Gardens to the Secretary of State.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, added:
"Palmer Gardens is an excellent example of how the right support enables people to develop their skills while at work. It was inspiring to meet young people who are overcoming vulnerability and building rewarding careers for the future.”

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