Third boutique proves they CAN!

Local charity, CAN, who work with young people and adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues, will be celebrating the lifting of restrictions by launching an exciting new venture in Coleraine in the form of CAN Can Bazaar.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 11:12 am

It’s been well documented that people with learning disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by Covid19 and restrictions to daily life!

Despite these restrictions, CAN has been working throughout the pandemic to continue providing support to the people who rely on them.

The organisation stepped up to the mark by launching crisis hotlines, daily zooms and daily live broadcasts through CAN TV. As a result of their efforts, demand for services increased so CAN needed to continue growing their own income which contributes almost a fifth to their annual turnover from the processing of waste materials, including textiles, cardboard, aluminium and plastics along with retail activities.

Coleraine Base members checking out the new sign

Kevin Duffy, Director of Enterprise at CAN said “Throughout the pandemic we have worked continuously to support local businesses by collecting waste materials but our shops had to close. One of CAN’s big strengths is including and involving local people. Our Bazaar model is about presenting something different to a ‘Charity Shop…because we are involved in the entire process from collection to sale, we can ensure only the best quality clothing goes in our shops and we can rotate stock quickly.

“We pride ourselves on the way we present the shops – they neither smell nor feel like the traditional expectation – and this is because we want our volunteers and trainees to have pride in their place of work!

“Our flagship shop has been in Ballymoney since 2006 and in 2019 we opened a further store in Ballymena in 2019 so Coleraine was the natural choice for our next destination Boutique.”

For the last 10 years, CAN has had a Base project in Coleraine centre and have numerous programmes including Best Buddies which has been supporting people in Coleraine and the surrounding areas for over 23 years. The lockdown didn’t put us off…if anything, it made us realise that if we were to continue to meet demand for our services, we needed to seize opportunities hence our Board decided to take a chance on things opening up.”

Previewing the Ladies Shoes

“Our boutique-style shop will be selling the best quality, freshly laundered/steamed pre-loved clothes/unwanted new goods and unique, up-cycled furniture and locally produced craft initially. We will also support a small number of crafters and artisan producers from the Causeway Coast and will plan to bring our Posh Frocks (selling formal and wedding wear) to Coleraine very soon! “

All of the clothes are collected from CAN’s 42 textiles banks throughout the North Coast. CAN’s trainees (young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism) go out with training officers, collect the clothing and then sort into grades back at the charities recycling depot in Ballymoney. Trainees are also placed in the Boutiques, learning every aspect of the job, enabling them to have a real work experience before applying for jobs in Supported Employment.

Janine Logan, the newly appointed Shop Manager said “I am delighted to be working with CAN. They really do what they say they do in that they are supporting over 450 local people and I’ve had the opportunity to visit all of the projects during my induction.

“We are hoping CAN Can Bazaar will provide a focal point for the town, with beautiful, affordable high-quality clothing for the people of Coleraine and a safe and friendly space for our members with learning disabilities and autism, their families and the wider public.

WE CAN Trainee, Jason Smyth Pre-Viewing the Men's Section

“100% of the proceeds goes back into running health and well-being projects including Best Buddies, Women Wise, Wise Guys, benefitting people from Coleraine and the surrounding areas”

Emma Louise from Macosquin is a member of CAN and attends their Base project in Coleraine said “ As a wheelchair user and having a learning disability, Covid has been a really hard period for me. I’ve only recently been able to get back to the Base and CAN has been a lifeline for me.

“I’m not sure how I would have coped without seeing my friends. The opening of the new shop is so exciting. I’m looking forward to more people knowing about CAN as it’s hard to miss in the town centre”.

As part of this new initiative, CAN are keen to recruit additional volunteers.

Emma-Louise checking out the new displays

So, if you’re interested in getting involved in something new and fresh, give them a ring.

Volunteers are a critical part of the team and gain access to a significant amount of training and opportunities through their engagement with the charity.

CAN Can Bazaar offer volunteers valuable retail skills, the chance to improve their CV, be involved in upcoming events and workshops, and to work in a fun, friendly and creative environment.

As well as this, you will directly see the positive impact you can make on your local community. No experience required!

If you are interested in getting involved, please call into the shop (adjacent to Daisy Mae’s on Kingsgate Street) or phone us CAN 028 27669030. Alternatively, email [email protected] for a volunteer application pack.

OFFICIAL OPENING:

CAN Can Bazaar’s official opening will take place on Friday, April 30 at 1pm with local MLA, Claire Sugden and Liam Beckett (CAN’s patrons) doing the ‘honours’.