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Tonypandy pet shop barking up the right tree

your pets warehouse ali.jpg

Ali Discombe, right, with student Bronwyn Ellis, from Treherbert.Three new posts have been created by an expanding Rhondda pet shop set up five years ago to offer training to disabled and disadvantaged young people.
Your Pets Warehouse in Tonypandy has already taken on a Community Outreach Coordinator and is looking to recruit two new assistants to join the team at its River View premises.
A £45,200 award has been made towards towards the purchase of an ‘outreach van’ and salary costs from the EU-backed South East Wales Community Economic Development (SEWCED) programme, while the assistants will be employed with help from Jobs Growth Wales.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and run by a six-Valleys local authorities’ consortium of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen, SEWCED has invested nearly £6m in 120 social enterprises since it began in 2010, helping to create 97 full-time jobs.
Your Pets Warehouse was set up by Managing Director Kate Wood to train young men and women with physical or learning difficulties to gain the skills needed to find paid work in the local community, or to simply experience the work environment.
As well as offering entry-level and NVQ Level One courses in Business Administration Animal and Customer Care, the charity operates a large retail store with an annual income of more than £200,000 from product sales alone. In 2011, Kate won the Leadership in Social Enterprise category at the Leading Wales Awards.

‘Our aim is to equip young people who are disadvantaged with the skills, experience and confidence to find sustained paid employment in the open labour market, using a working retail store as a training vehicle,’ said Kate.
The shop also offers work experience to pupils from Ysgol Hen Felin in Ystrad Rhondda, a day community school for children and young people aged from three years to 19 with special educational needs, including learning difficulties and hearing impairment.
Ali Discombe’s role as the new Community Outreach Coordinator will involve her working to increase awareness of Your Pets Warehouse by engaging with community partners, taking part in local and regional events and delivering workshops and innovative marketing methods.
The outreach van will allow staff to attend events such as The Royal Welsh Show and The Big Cheese, as well as local markets, to sell products.
“We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from SEWCED as it enables us to take our business out in to the community, which will involve helping more young people gain the skills and confidence which is normally taken for granted in the main,” said Kate Wood.
“In the future, more training stores will be set up around Wales in those areas where they are needed most. This support will help us to make a difference where it matters.”

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