After a few years away a much loved Liverpool business is once again a high street presence in Liverpool.
Back open since November on Prescot Road, Old Swan, Create was one of Liverpool’s original social enterprises from its founding in 1995. Sarah and I did a lot of work with them over the years and became particular friends with their longest serving Chief Executive Greg Walker.
Create worked on white goods – cookers, fridges, freezers and washing machines. Recycling some and supplying them at good affordable prices to people who needed them the most. More particularly though they helped people with their lives, training and employing many hundreds in the end, from their base then in Speke, and with Create shops all over Merseyside.
But we’ll pick up their story when we get there, because today we’re walking to the new Create.
Guided for some of today’s walk by a 1905 OS map.
The old Sandown pub transformed into the new location for long lived and loved ‘Eureka.’ Displaced by the destruction of it’s former home in Myrtle Parade L8. And very welcome here.
This place only became a part of Liverpool in 1895.
One of several Victorian developments dotted around Liverpool, like say Grassendale in Aigburth, where the well to do of the day built themselves comfortable villas.
Before being controversially demolished early this century.
The Meccano factory was down there until 1979 when it was closed. Protesting about that was my first big political demo back then.
Clearly an ancient village junction that’s gloriously made it to the 21st century.
What’s happened with Create is that a few years ago it closed for business as the recession bit. Even though by then its chief Executive Greg Walker had been awarded an OBE for his services to the unemployed.
But since then Greg has dreamed and planned, sometimes on walks with me, how he might get Create going again in some form. And now he has.
“Carol had been unemployed for the previous 8 years or more until she came to work at CREATE in July 2015 on the six month WRAP supported programme, backed by her housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes.
As a single parent with four children, life had been difficult for Carol to say the least. She’d been applying for jobs for years for cleaning or anything available, but without any luck.
In July 2015 she got the chance of the 6 months paid work at CREATE as part of a small team refurbishing end of life white goods for onward sale to low income households. She worked hard and became a valuable member of that team. CREATE saw her potential and at the end of the six months they offered her the job of managing their newly opened retail shop. The photograph above shows Carol in the shop with her new found skills and confidence.
In Carol’s own words “Financially, because of now having to pay full council tax and housing costs I’m only about £50 a month better off – but the real plus is the mental gain. I enjoy the work and I feel like I’m a real person again and can look people in the eye. I’m not ashamed anymore”
“Afonso was born in Angola and arrived in the UK in January 2011 after working in Portugal. Although he could speak several African languages as well as Portuguese, French and Dutch, his English was at that time very limited. He was referred to the Job Centre which he found very stressful due to the language, so he went to night school to study English. He took a course in welding and engineering which was his previous trade but no jobs came. He was referred by the Job Centre to many agencies but nothing came of them.
After three and a half years he was eventually referred to CREATE who realised what a hardworking and intelligent person he was. He was subsequently taken on the CREATE six month WRAP supported programme, backed by his housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes. At the end of that programme CREATE gave him a permanent job as a delivery and service engineer. He now runs a car and was able to get married last year. All the staff went to his wedding.
In Afonso’s words “Financially I am much better off than I was. Most importantly though I’ve got a job and my self-respect – and I never have to visit the Job Centre again!”
So, Create is back. And it’s well worth the walk, or the bus ride, from wherever you are.
Create is at 692-696 Prescot Road, Liverpool, L13 5XG. The shop selling kitchen appliances and beds. And also changing people’s lives.