Two social enterprises launched by Brothers of Charity Services in Tweedbank, are offering work experience and training for adults with learning disabilities.
Working Together Social Enterprises will enable up to 30 people a week to work in Bread Works, an organic bakery, and Green Works, which provides gardening services.
Mandy Lowrie, manager, said: “We wanted to help people gain the skills required to find employment and create training opportunities for them and came up with these social enterprises.
“We have eight people in the gardening and eight in the bakery each day and we train them in the skills required and about the work ethos needed in a job.”
Working Together Social Enterprises also provides opportunities for training and experience in reception and administrative work.
Six-week taster sessions are available for people to get an idea of the work involved and to see if they enjoy it.
Mandy said: “After the six- week taster they go on to a more in-depth training plan and can then work as a volunteer for a further 18 months, and throughout we’ll help them with job skills, helping with applications, creating CVs and interview technique, and also put them in touch with job- seeking services.”
She added: “We are also working with Borders College to provide skills accreditation.”
The bakery has been created in association with Breadshare, a social enterprise based near West Linton, while Border Safety Supplies and St Boswells Mowers have assisted Green Works through sponsorship and discounted equipment.
The council has helped their development through a grant-funding arrangement.
Bakery products are already being supplied to the shop at Abbotsford and are also sold through a pop-up van, which travels round the Borders, and in breadbaskets for individuals to sell-on the artisan loaves.
The gardeners have landed a contract with Langlee Residents’ Association and in the winter will refurbish and make garden furniture.