Leading law firm Higgs & Sons Solicitors, has assisted local social enterprise Woodside Crafts in relocating to dedicated premises in Dudley town centre.
Woodside Crafts, which has until now been based at the Woodside Day Centre, provides adults recovering from mental illness the chance to create their own wooden crafts and garden furniture for sale to the public.
Richard Griffiths, an associate solicitor in Higgs’ corporate department, has been acting as a mentor to the group since February as part of the law firm’s commitment to supporting social enterprises and charitable organisations within the local community.
Richard said the new shop and workshop in King Street, Dudley, was a massive step forward for the group and reflected their success so far.
“They are great people and a fantastic cause. They will now have a more suitable base to manufacture and sell their quality handmade products. A colleague, Tim Swallow, has assisted with the completion of the lease whilst I have been meeting with Woodside Crafts on a regular basis to provide general advice and support to their business. The opening of the shop is a big milestone in their plans for the business.”
Tim Jones, partner and head of the firm’s corporate social responsibility, said the mentoring scheme was a vital part of the company’s commitment to helping local groups.
“We have supported a number of social enterprise groups, such as Woodside Crafts helping them to make the most of their own plans, by providing mentoring and expert legal advice. It has been hugely satisfying for everybody involved to see groups such as Woodside realise their ambitions.”
Chris George, from Woodside Crafts, said they had been very impressed by the help and advice they had received from Higgs.
“As novices in business, the mentoring and advice given has been invaluable. Our social enterprise group supports people with mental health issues gain employment skills, improve self-esteem and confidence. It also endeavours to dispel myths regarding mental health issues.
“All our directors have first-hand experience of mental health difficulties. Higgs have treated us professionally and as equals within business – a great example of equality and diversity.
“Last year we had a dream of having a shop, which presented a number of challenges, some of which were pointed out by Higgs. But they have given us lots of advice and now we have reached the top of the mountain.”
Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country – Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.