Thirty years of providing work

Happy Anniversary: Greenaway Workshop workers Albert Dawson, Brett Fox, Sandra Garside, Paul Taylor, Barry Oliver, Robert Redfern and Jeffrey Spencer prepare to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the group.
Happy Anniversary: Greenaway Workshop workers Albert Dawson, Brett Fox, Sandra Garside, Paul Taylor, Barry Oliver, Robert Redfern and Jeffrey Spencer prepare to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the group.
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A UNIQUE workshop which provides hands-on work for its disabled employees is celebrating 30 years in business.

Greenaway Workshop, in Darley Dale, is marking the milestone with a celebration dance and meal at Matlock Imperial Rooms on November 19.

The charity-run business originally set up by the county council has survived the recession, threat of closure and periods when trade was low – and is still going strong.

The workforce is made up of 16 people aged from 18 to mid 60, who are unable to work in conventional jobs, due to accidents, medical conditions or learning difficulties.

Customers can take chairs and stools to be repaired or printing orders, done by a team of skilled craftsmen.

Bridget Jones who has been the workshop manager for the past nine years said: “We’ve done well to survive especially these days with funding being cut.

“I think part of the workshop’s success is it provides a niche for people who can’t work in a conventional work places because of whatever disability they have.

“The workers don’t come for the money as they only get a small allowances so you know people are here because they want to be and they are getting something from it.”

She added: “It helps build self esteem and they feel they have done a decent days work.

“I remember one man said that when he had a stroke he couldn’t get work as no one wanted “half a man.” But coming to Greenaway was fantastic for him. He was here for years.”

During its 30 years in business many miles of cane, rush and sea grass have been woven by a dedicated team, as chairs from Chatsworth House, London, The Channel Islands, France and even Australia have been repaired.

Jeffrey Spencer, of Wirksworth, who has been working at Greenaway for 28 years said: “I’ve been here the longest now. I couldn’t find work so I came here to have a look round and have been here ever since.

“It’s a nice friendly atmosphere and it’s a chance to work.”

To purchase tickets for the celebration event, which will be opened by writer and former West Derbyshire MP Matthew Parris – who originally opened Greenaway 30 years ago – visit the workshop in Greenaway Lane, or telephone them on 01629 734089.