Gateway Bookshop in Port Talbot

06 March 2012

The Neath Port Talbot Coastal Project is exploring ways of taking over the running of the much valued charity Gateway Bookshop in Port Talbot.

The project, which aims to promote training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, has put in a planning application to open a coffee shop in the unit next door.

This is the first step towards acquiring the bookshop and the proposal is for people from the project to run the coffee shop as part of the bookshop, supported by project staff.

The bookshop will provide much needed opportunities for people to gain the skills and qualifications needed in today's labour market with support from Coastal staff.

This experience will include customer service, catering and hospitality, food hygiene, bookkeeping and administration.

If planning consent is approved, there are plans for the coffee shop furniture to be made by the Coastal project using recycled materials. It would be a part of a woodwork project run in conjunction with Down to Earth, a voluntary organisation who specialise in eco friendly projects.

There are also proposals to expand the existing facilities at the bookshop to include a 'hub' that can link with schools and local groups, where book reading and poetry clubs can meet and where local literary talent can be encouraged.

There are also plans to create a website and online ordering through Amazon.

Corporate Director for Social Care, Health and Housing, Tony Clements, said, "The Gateway Bookshop has been open in Port Talbot for many years and is well used by residents.

"The opportunity has arisen to take over the running of the bookshop due to the retirement of Rae Roberts and the regional Coastal project is supporting the venture as a way of continuing to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities and who are socially disadvantaged.

"This kind of experience will help them gain the skills and confidence to look for employment."

The Coastal project is a regional sponsored project involving six local authorities and the European Social Fund. The project is led by the City and County of Swansea and aims to provide educational, training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities or who are socially disadvantaged.

It is part funded by the European Social Fund under the 2007-2013 Convergence Programme supporting the development of social enterprises.

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