The job market: how farmer's market will 'break down stigmas' around learning disabilities (From Times Series)
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Edgware's first farmer's market organised by The Larches to boost opportunities for learning disabled
Charity founder Linda Edwards (right) is hoping the market will provide a unique opportunity for some of her 80 clients
A charity hosting Edgware’s first farmers’ market is hoping the weekly event can help break down stigmas surrounding people with learning disabilities.
The Larches, in Rectory Lane, is hosting the roaming market every Friday and, as well as selling the usual fresh produce, organisers are giving some of the charity’s clients a chance to get some hands-on work experience.
Charity founder Linda Edwards says job opportunities for people with learning disabilities are rare and she is hoping the market will provide a unique opportunity for some of her 80 clients.
She said: “Things like this are so important. People need a structure, a purpose to get out of bed in the morning. If they know they’re coming to something where they can learn and work, it has a positive impact on their lives.”
Arts and crafts created during the charity’s mid-week activity sessions are being sold at the market and social enterprise co-ordinator Kathryn Michael hopes some of the clients will come and help at the stall as the market grows.
She said: “We’re teaching them skills, building their confidence and it is raising awareness for the charity.
“These people are able but they need to be given an opportunity. It gives them confidence and lets people in the community know they can work.
“They’re real people and can contribute to the community – this market is a great example of that.”
The market has already attracted 16 stall holders and, if it proves successful, could run beyond the three month pilot.
Ms Edwards said: “We’re passionate about building inclusive communities and the only way we can do that is by getting people along and involved in what we do.
“We’re hoping a lot of people will come along and support us – it is very exciting for the charity.”