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Husband and wife shop owners triumph with BBC community award

Bristol shop owners based in ExtraCare’s Stoke Gifford Retirement Village are delighted to have taken home a BBC Radio Bristol’s ‘Make a Difference’ award.

Lucy and Richard Smith owners of Your Village Shop found themselves shortlisted for BBC Radio Bristol’s ‘Make a Difference’ awards after going out of their way to run an autism and neurodiverse-friendly shop in the village. The award celebrates the stories heard day-after-day, of people going above and beyond to make a real difference in their community.

Your Village Shop caters to those who may face difficulties performing their daily shop and eliminates obstacles for them whilst also offering a unique work experience scheme. To keep the shop neurodiverse-friendly the lighting is subtle, shelves are not too high or over stacked, there is no music or background noise, there are wider aisles, items are not moved out of place and lines are kept simple. All staff have inclusion and diversity training, and many are neurodivergent themselves or know how to support people who are. The shop works with Inclusive Change At Work CIC, a social enterprise, to deliver a work experience programme for autistic and neurodivergent young people and adults called iWork2. The programme is funded by the National Lottery, Quartet Community Foundation and South Gloucestershire Council Learning Disabilities Development Funding. Currently there are four young people who are taking part in the programme, they will either work in the shop or help to create online content.

Owner, Lucy Smith, comments: “We are overwhelmed to win the ‘Together’ award. As parents of autistic teenagers, we wanted to do something to make a difference in the workplace and we are so excited to now be able to develop our business to help the next generation of employees.

We are part and parcel of the community here at Stoke Gifford Retirement Village. We have a brilliantly strong relationship with the residents and staff here. This award is for everyone who believes in us, supports us, works, and shops with us. Because of you we really are making change happen.”

Steve Fielding, Lifestyle Manager and Interim Village Manager at Stoke Gifford Retirement Village commented: “We’re very proud to work with Lucy, Rich, and their entire team, who have made a huge difference to the lives of our residents and the local community since setting up almost two and a half years ago.”

Find out more about Stoke Gifford Retirement Village.