Throwback Thursday: Waveney Enterprise working in the heart of the community

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 July 2018

The article covering Waveney Enterprise. Photo: Archant.

The article covering Waveney Enterprise. Photo: Archant.


In Throwback Thursday Enjoy Beccles more takes a look back at some of the town’s major stories and events from times gone-by.

This week we take a look at The Waveney Enterprises Manor Workshop.

The article below, written by Tony Clarke, first appeared in the Beccles and Bungay Journal on Friday, July 17, 1987.

Waveney Enterprise boosts the mentally handicapped; working in the heart of the community

There can be few things more likely to boost a person’s morale than the thought the he or she is doing something useful in the community.

Mentally handicapped people are often denied that boost, perhaps partly because society under-estimates their potential and skills.

In the centre of Beccles is a small workshop, a pioneering venture dedicated to putting that situation right.

The Waveney Enterprises Manor Workshop, in manor House Lane, employs a maximum of 12 people producing an ever widening range of goods for sale.

Its tiny showroom is packed with stools, lampshades, bird boxes dolls’ houses, paper flowers, badges, cushions, children’s puzzles, greetings cards, rugs, pictures and man other items.

The workshop was the brainchild of the Waveney Valley branch of the charity MENCAP. Set up in the spring of 1985, it is jointly funded by Yarmouth and Waveney Health Authority and Waveney Social Services, and was officially opened in August that year by Earl Ferrers.

The workshop has a manager and assistant manager. Two further assistants are paid by the Manpower Services Commission for three working days each week.

One room of the workshop is set aside for woodwork, another mainly for painting and the making of prints and badges. A third is for weaving and sewing, and there is a small pottery.

Manager of the workshop since March Mr Bron Parker explained that, although Waveney Enterprises had not set out to provide a training workshop, it did offer a friendly working environment. Pay day comes at the end of the week when workers get a small wage.

AT present most of the work results from ideas dreamed by the management team for products which they hope will sell. In future they hope to get specific orders, and when that time comes there will be some pressure to meet deadlines.

“Hopefully, a lot of the people will gain enough confidence to enable them to hold down a full time job, and the workshop will get so much work it will itself be classed as a full time job and will become as financially self-supporting as possible”, he said.

“We constantly try to think of new lines so the people here don’t get stale. They like to learn something new, and we always hope to hit on something that will catch on.”

A display cabinet and kitchen fitments, printed cards and other things given to the workshop by companies and individuals show how the Manor workshop is establishing itself in the affection of the local community.

Students from the Sir John Leman High School spend time helping there. It all helps to encourage the friendly family atmosphere which is so important to people for whom the workshop is intended – an atmosphere in which they feel needed and at home.

Latest Articles