Unwrapped deliver a Hamper of Happiness to Highfield School Ely’s key workers

Ely’s first zero waste greengrocery and refill larder, Prospects Trust Unwrapped, made a special top of the class delivery to its friends at Highfield Ely today while on their busy home delivery rounds.  Highfield School learners have been part of the social enterprise since it opened last September and the team at Unwrapped wanted to send some treats to their frontline friends.

Prospects Trust Unwrapped had to transform its retail offering practically overnight with the early warnings of Covid-19 and in just once month has turned from a “buy just what you need” busy and bustling shop into a non-contact home delivery service of larder bulk buys.  As a registered charity that supports people with additional needs, their mission is #survivetothrive until the time that Unwrapped can reopen and continue to provide innovative social care placements in the shop.

Tom Cockerton, Manager of Prospects Trust Unwrapped said “we have been astounded, and at times overwhelmed, by the swell of customer orders and loyal support to our social enterprise.  It helped that for a short while we were the only shop in Ely to have toilet rolls and bread yeast, which we still have in regular supply.  Our customers are now making weekly orders of our fruit and veg boxes stocked with seasonal and organic produce as well as their core staples of porridge oats and coffee beans.  I like to think in a small way we are not just providing critical groceries we are also keeping in touch with our customer fan base”. 

Prospects Trust Unwrapped closed its café and put a temporary halt to training placements at the end of March before the national lock down began as a quick measure to keep everyone safe, especially their Co-worker trainees. Overnight the shop created a basic online delivery form, using the skills of a returning Uni student and harnessing the whole of the small workforce, launched Unwrapped Home Delivery.

Customers can now select all their regular store cupboard basics and get their family’s five-a-day weekly veg & fruit online.  The staff team prepare the order and give a phone call to the customer to let them know when to expect a non-contact doorstep delivery.  Clare Rees, Unwrapped Support Worker said “we are proud that we can still continue to provide that friendly personal service, something our shielding and vulnerable customers really need in these times.”

Maz Baker, Development Manager for The Prospects Trust said “as a small charity we are facing the hardest of times, as are so many other frontline services and social good causes.  Nobody is excluded from the challenges of Covid-19 but as a charity we want to #StrivetoThrive.  We felt it was right to reach out to other organisations that are providing frontline care to keyworker children, and, our special friends at Highfield School.  The best way to survive is to support each other.  We hope that people will continue to support us by shopping with us at Unwrapped”.

The Prospects Trust has launched a charity appeal, #Survive to Thrive to help the 30 year old charity weather the lockdown and be ready for a bumper harvest with the Co-workers (adults with additional needs) once they are safe to return to their day placements at Snakehall Farm, at Unwrapped and on the Garden Team.  Donations can be made https://localgiving.org/appeal/survivetothrive/ or via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tilly.tractor/posts/2936117949758755.

Prospects Trust Unwrapped was selected as an Aviva Community Fund good cause before the outbreak of Covid-19 and due to the challenging circumstances, Aviva has extended their Crowdfunding period, donations to support Unwrapped can be made online at: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/refill-not-landfill

Unwrapping the Aviva Crowdfunder

We have until lunchtime of the April 22nd to raise £3000 in pledges. We want to Unwrap Unwrapped further and we need your help! Click here to go to the Aviva Crowdfunder Page and pledge your support to The Prospects Trust.

Prospects Trust Unwrapped opened in September 2019 and has started a refill revolution for the local consumers of Ely, but more vitally, it has become the little shop where magic happens.  The Prospects Trust wanted to open a REAL shop to provide REAL work-based training opportunities for people with additional needs. It wanted to create an outlet for all the organic produce sown, grown and harvested by their Snakehall Farm Co-workers and it wanted to give Ely a different way to shop.  In just six months, Unwrapped has been created, launched and now offers 18 placements per week to individuals with additional needs. Unwrapped has already supported 4 learners gain accredited qualifications in retail and food safety and has just enrolled a further 7 learners for 2020.  Unwrapped has created retail opportunities for over 15 local eco artisans in their Craftisan Pods.  Unwrapped has created a sustainable solution to single-use plastic with its novel Refill Larder Wall and loose produce baskets. 

Co-workers creating new dishes from local produce

Now we want to UNWRAP the outside.  We wish to transform the outside of the shop front into an accessible cafe area, with raised bed planters and cycle racks, doggie area and pushchair park.  We want to offer more space for more locals to linger longer in our unique Unwrapped store.  Your support will see us transform an old inaccessible gravel area into an upcycled, recycled and accessible seating area.  By increasing the seating area outside we aim to attract more customers to be served by more Co-workers, helping us put their new found retail skills to the test with the ultimate aim of getting paid employment for our Unwrapped Trainees in their local community.

Unwrapped Christmas Trading Hours

Ho Ho Ho its time to stock your larder, squirrel your nuts and get ready to unwrap Christmas. This is our first Christmas at Unwrapped and we will have an official closure from between Christmas and the new year. We also have a few changes to our usual hours to help support our Co-workers and make sure they too celebrate together. Here are our trading hours:

Bah Humbug to Black Friday

We prefer to retail magically, retail differently and keep it local every day at Prospects Trust Unwrapped. We are keeping our prices low every day and hope that our customer’s see the real value in buying locally, sustainably and ethically all year around, our Unwrapped deal is not just for Christmas!

No deal just the real deal everyday in everyway at Prospects Trust Unwrapped

Unwrapped is recruiting

Well it has only been a month! We opened Prospects Trust Unwrapped, our new Ely GREENgrocery in September and we have already grown so busy we need a part time Barista to keep the Hot Numbers coffee flowing. Head over to our https://prospectstrust.org.uk/vacancies/ page for all the details.

Application details can be found at: https://prospectstrust.org.uk/vacancies/

Meet the Artisans

We have created a niche for the artisans and the local creatives in our “Pod” wall within Unwrapped. We wanted to bring a “Not on the High Street” flavour to Ely’s actual High Street and showcase the talent in the neighbourhood. With only four more pods available to rent (£10 per month plus a very low selling commission) we have filled our pods with some unique, eco and oh it will so go go products. We will feature our Pod Producers in future posts but if you want to see what the likes of Dragonfly Soaperie, Lil Glad Rags, The Faraway Tree and Eveterraniums have created you will have to pop in the shop.

To book a pod please contact Tom Cockerton at Unwrapped 01353 662010

Two more sleeps (or not)

While you are all dreaming of refilling your reusable containers strange things are going on in Ely. Shopkeeper Tom is putting the finishing touches to Prospects Trust Unwrapped and we need a few shout outs to the people who are getting us across the finishing line:

A big shout out to our local Mayor, Cllr Mike Rouse, who will be turning the key on the 4th and who has captured our faces in the front cover of the Elyi Magazine.

Sean from SG Auto Tint in Soham who at 11pm is preparing our window decals. We hope Tom is practicing his barista skills and keeping Sean fuelled up on the Hot Numbers caffeine?

The new Unwrapped Staff Crew – Clare, Paul and Kin who have been training on the till, kitting up the kitchen and sprucing up the shop – as well as keeping Tom company.

The wonderful volunteers from the Lighthouse, the local Ely Job Centre cohort, SE Electrical Services, Ruth at Re-imagine and our firm Farm Friends from Emmaus and of course Ken – our now resident decorator!

The amazing local businesses, from Cutlacks & Samovar down the hill to 68 Market Street around the corner, the sustainable champions from longstanding farm wholesale company COFCO and the exciting new Cambridgeshire Sustainable Food Hub, lot of our new suppliers including Yare Valley and Gourmet Brownie – we look forward to working with them and many more as the shop builds up a footfall of customers.

A huge wow from Eco Ely – Hayley and her social media subscribers have been keeping us in the loop and drumming up local support.

A big thank you to the start up funders and donors, from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation/Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate Fund, Enterprise East Cambs and our crowdfunding family – seriously without your financial backing we would still be working on the business plan.

A recognition to those that have already paved the way in Zero Waste – our neighbouring businesses across the border in Norfolk – a wave to Graham at Ethical Ernie, Cata at Re.Source and Elizabeth at The Green Parrot for sharing their stories in creating refill larder shops of their own. We also wish to thank all the other like minded indes sharing their stories on Zero-Waste Start Ups on social media.

And finally here’s to working in partnership with Thera, Mencap, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Learning Skills Department in creating a hopefully sustainable and innovative project that becomes the norm for Ely. Now our plea is to the residents of Ely – please come shop little, light and often in our new shop, support our trainees in their learning and eat local, seasonal and ethically. Together we really change change the world (one tiny corner at a time).

Famous Five Minutes

We don’t have a PR department, a MarComms Team or even a Webmaster (is that still a job) but we are blushing on the telly, grinning our radio faces off and signing autographs on the latest edition of the Elyi Magazine. Suddenly after 30 years of “growing differently” we appear to have become popular! Now we are not contemplating making Tilly Tractor audition for the next series of Love Island, Farmer Mark isn’t trading in his trademark hat for botox, Hannah hasn’t traded her steel-toe caps for red carpet stilettos, Shop Manager Tom hasn’t got an agent (yet) and Maz knows she is only in the photos to make everyone else look much, much taller, but we are feeling a bit more like local celebrities thanks to some great articles, telly slots and radio interviews.

We hope you caught some of our recent interviews but for those who have missed them or those (erm yep Farmer Mark’s family) who want to relive the magic moments, here, for a short time only, are some links to the media malarkey:

Listen to Tom, Hannah and Maz talk about the new Ely Shop and the Prospects Trust Open day with Chris South on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07kv6z9

The Farm captured in action by BBC Look East

continued

and finally!

YES you can ask for our autographs at the 30th Anniversary Open Day on the 14th September but you will have to buy a raffle ticket or two!