All Together Edinburgh is a social enterprise with charitable status. It was set up by Debbie Muir in 2010 after recognising that there were very few training opportunities for people with learning disabilities to learn skills that would help them work within the retail sector. She joined forces with Michael, a social care manager in the City of Edinburgh Council and together they developed a structured retail training programme for people who may otherwise excluded from employment or work opportunities. They wanted to create more training and employment opportunities and to deliver not only employability skills but to boost confidence and provide a recognised qualification
It was decided that the training would be best delivered in a charity shop as Debbie had 13 years of experience in charity retailing and knew that the shop was an ideal place to learn skills relevant to the retail field. She also realised that it would provide opportunities for trainees to interact with the public and to increase awareness of people with learning disabilities. The shop was opened in 2011 on one of the busiest streets in Edinburgh – Leith Walk.
Around 12 trainees join the programme each year and the candidates work towards the Ready for Retail Award or individual units, such as Work skills, Cleaning Skills, Customer Care, Health and Safety, Stock and Display and Using a Cash Register. There are also many more options to choose from.
The shop/training centre has now been open for 8 years and 100 candidates have achieved a qualification that is recognised by a host of retailers, training providers and other employers. Over 75% have moved on to a positive destination following their year with All Together, including paid employment, further training or voluntary work.
The shop is open 7 days a week and offers quality products at affordable prices. It has clothes, accessories, books, toys, bric-a-brac, vinyl, dvd’s and cd’s. All income generated in the shop is re-invested back in to the shop to maintain the training service.
Debbie has built up a network of financial and business support from many leading organisations. Funding has been secured through First Port, PWC, Lloyds TSB, Santander, The Baily Thomas Trust and Leith Chooses, Debbie is a member of the Edinburgh Social Enterprise and the PWC Entrepreneur’s Club and has benefitted from training, mentoring/advice and business/networking opportunities. She works with many employment organisations and provides opportunities for staff from PWC, RBS and HSBC to volunteer in the shop.
All Together Edinburgh
87 Leith Walk
0131 553 7016