At the weekend I was invited down to Foundin the St Johns Centre in Leeds. Found was started by Create, a social enterprise, and originally started by selling vintage pieces. But they found when the students went home their takings dropped. They have now started selling new pieces which helps keep the project going. The shop also stocks local designers and are working in conjunction with a number of different enterprises.
Create aim to help people in the community who struggle to find employment and try to provide training and support to help turn their lives around. The people involved come from a variety of different walks of life. Many of the people involved in the project have spent some of their lives homeless. This has naturally effected those people from getting a job; Create aim to develop real skills which can change people’s lives and lead to full time employment.
A great testament to this is Found’s own assistant Manager Tom. He came into the project through community service and went on to explain to me how he had spent some time homeless. When the opportunity arose to work in a retail environment he was eager to take on a new challenge. The shop has a number of volunteers looking for experience in a variety of different areas; Found has student volunteers who are looking to add to their CV.
The new clothing at the front of the store actually helps to ensure that the ‘dress agency’, at the back of the store, can continue. Found would be a great place to pick up a great vintage piece. It is great to see projects like this thriving in a City Centre, when it would be so easy to buckle under the pressure from High Street Chains. I would recommend going down and checking them out if you are in the Leeds area.