OUTSIDE the Box opened its annual festive pop-up shop last week with a special event showcasing the work of its members, people with learning disabilities involved in the project.

The OTB Presents shop had a busy evening with members, their parents and carers and local customers all enjoying the celebration and taking the opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping.

Daniel, one of the members taking part, said: “It is fantastic, I like selling things and talking to the customers. I am looking forward to selling more cards and have suggested some new things to be made in future”.

Located on Church Street in Ilkley, the shop is selling handmade products that have been inspired by and made with members ranging from Christmas cards and wrapping paper through to unique tree decorations, gift items and seasonal jams and chutneys.

It is now open every Saturday 11am to 4pm with a ‘Christmas extra’ shopping day on Saturday, December 7th with drinks, nibbles and promotional discounts for customers.

Run by local charity, Ilkley Community Enterprise Ltd, all proceeds from the shop go towards the work of Outside the Box in supporting local people with learning disabilities.

In addition to making and selling, the shop is providing work experience for two adults with learning disabilities, helping them to develop their confidence, customer service and retailing skills, gain qualifications and build their CVs.

One of the shop members, Nick, said: “I’m learning how to use the card machine and take payments and am meeting new people.

“The nicest thing about the shop is that the members of Outside the Box make everything.”

In addition to the shop, the premises on Church Street are used by Outside the Box to deliver a programme of creative workshops including arts, crafts, screen-printing, drama and photography, for adults and young people with a learning disability.

“We are always on the look out for new artists to come and support our programme and would welcome any local artists interested in becoming involved. Working with practising artists is a really valuable experience for our members and a rewarding and inspiring opportunity for artists,” says Lesley Savage, OTB Choices Manager.

To enquire or further information contact Lesley Savage on 01943 609692 or lesleys.outsidetheboxcafe@gmail.com