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

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).

Barista in Training

We have all the gear from Hot Numbers Roastery, including a state of the art coffee machine and the tastiest of beans sourced fairly and ethically. Now we just need to transform the milky foam into coffee art in time for service! Our new Support Worker Clare has been rehearsing for the Grand Opening this Wednesday 4th September.

Staff member holding a cup of coffee made on a barista machine

The Big Green Swish

Friday 19th July from 7pm at Prospects Trust Unwrapped 13 Lynn Road, Ely

An amazing eco-event comes to Ely! The first opportunity to showcase our new shop (minus our produce but lots of pop up stalls and clothes rails instead). This is a fabulous community collaboration with our new friends at EcoEly, Ely Swish and Spotted in Ely. Come for a wardrobe refresh that won’t break your bank balance nor the environment, grab the next size up to make room for delicious cake and slurp a cuppa while chatting to our local producers, awareness raisers and the team members behind the event!

Book your Swish Ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-green-swish-tickets-64422541556

Re-Toy Story – Pre-loved Toy Sale on 20th July 11:30 to 2pm @Prospects Trust Unwrapped Ely

Prospects Trust Unwrapped hasn’t yet swung open its doors for trading but we are looking forward to a few pop-up fundraising events in our new shop space. Our second fundraising event is our Pre-loved Toy Sale. We are taking over the Lighthouse Community Room just in time for the school summer holidays. You can clear out the toy cupboards & children’s book shelves and replenish with new to them (but preloved before). Either book a sellers pitch with a £5 donation towards Prospects Trust (Reg. Charity No 1048584/Co. Ltd by Guarantee 3087221) or attend the event as a buyer, remember to bring your bags & boxes! There will be refreshments on sale and you will get an opportunity to take an early sneaky peak at the new shop.

Prospects Unwrapped’s Toy Sale will be held at Lighthouse Ely, 13 Lynn Road, Ely CB7 4EG. Click here for “Where to Park” and to find details of this event on Facebook: Facebook Event – Toy Sale and Insta

With a little help from our friends

Mace Group Volunteers Get Shop Fit!

The Ely shop is taking shape thanks to 100s of donated hours from great corporate groups and our firm friends (you know who you are). This week the wonderful Steve, Rupert, Martin and Giorgia from Mace left no job undone! Farm friend Ken H has been on the tools from the day we turned the key, he has painted the place from top to bottom. Lots of support from the Lighthouse Community has meant that Manager Tom has been kept busy but also supported. We have transformed the abandoned space into a really retro retail space on a shoestring budget and lots of up-cycled furnishings. We cannot express our gratitude to all who have helped unwrap Prospects Trust Unwrapped.

We are still looking to fit out the Farm Food Servery, we need a new kitchen, sinks and catering kit. We can recycle pre-loved units, giving them a lease of life in our vital food hub. Offers of help to be sent to [email protected] or call the Farm Office on 01638 7414551

Unwrap your potential

Prospects Trust Trainee Placements are now available, starting from September 2019, we are bringing a new way to learn on to the high street of Ely. We are looking to recruit 20 new Co-worker Trainees to be our first cohort to gain accredited qualifications in retail and food safety.

Trainee Placement Poster

Take a look at our flexible training programme, with 2 day placements starting from £50 per week. Download our Placement Pack or contact us on 01638 741551 for more information.

Weigh in Weigh in – Zero-Waste Heavyweights in Ely

Prospects Trust at Snakehall Farm has been the home of “naked” cucumbers since 1989. For 30 years we have never shrink wrapped our cucumbers and we have always sold locally grown organic produce direct to our customers in our little “veg shed” on the farm.

Now we are bringing our old idea to Ely. By September 2019 our Ely customers will be able to source their local, organic, eco and seasonal products plastic free in a brand new shop – Prospects Unwrapped.

We have just purchased the most amazing scales and till system to make this unpackaged way to shop easy peasy (fingers crossed). You will bring your own containers, weigh & tare, print label, fill and weigh again – then repeat! Don’t worry we will always have a helpful staff & trainee on hand to help.

We have also been donated this rather eye catching retro scale – as a feature of our shop! Don’t worry trading standards our new scales are much more accurate than this.