Meet the village shop striving for more after first-year success

Staff at Hidden Treasures in Burwell

Hidden Treasures in Burwell, which reached its first-year anniversary, helps provide a chance for adults with learning disabilities to get into work and learn new skills. - Credit: Facebook/Hidden Treasures

A charity hopes that its village shop will continue to create opportunities for adults with learning disabilities after reaching its first birthday. 

Hidden Treasures in Burwell opened on July 7 last year, allowing traders to rent shelves to sell their products, from crafts and birthday cards to paintings. 

The shop is part of the Burwell Print Social Enterprise, which gives adults with learning disabilities support and training to go into work. 

“We were looking at different avenues for printers to get more skills,” Jo Graham, manager of Burwell Print Centre, said. 

“Unfortunately, there are not as many opportunities for these adults to get paid work, so I wanted to set up something and the trustees at Burwell Print allowed me and the team to.” 

Since last summer, Hidden Treasures has seen the number of small businesses using its space rise from 22 to 38 from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. 

Up to 10 people with learning disabilities work at the site on The Causeway as staff operate on a rotation basis, learning skills such as counting money and stock taking. 

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And having emerged from a Covid-19 lockdown, Jo feels this brought the community together. 

“Covid has brought people back shopping local and that was why we opened the shop; the village has been really supportive of us,” she said. 

“We have regular customers come in and see new people every day. 

“The fundamental purpose of the shop is to give printers the skills for all walks of life.” 

One of the key points Hidden Treasures wants to address is giving opportunities to people that want to develop their own business. 

Burwell Print has also focused on providing a platform for people with learning disabilities to develop their social skills while in the workplace. 

Jo is hoping that the shop can continue to become a hub for the local community to meet and showcase the skills that their printers possess. 

“The first year has gone extremely well; we had no idea how the shop was going to work out,” Jo added. 

“It was about trying to work out how to support local people and get printers to show how amazing they are. 

“It’s nice to see local people are supporting local and that’s what we strive to do.”