Ex-police officer’s new shop to help former prisoners

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A new wedding and gift shop with a charitable twist has opened in Northampton.

Grace and Favours, in Birchfield Road East, specialises in handcrafted, locally-made gifts and party accessories but also offers free workshops to people recently released from prison.

The social enterprise has been set up by Julie Parsons, founder of C2C Social Action and The Good Loaf – both social enterprises operating in Northampton.

Julie retired from Northamptonshire Police at the end of 2016 but, with no plans to slow down, was quick to establish her latest charitable venture.

She said: “Of course, I love the ethos of the Good Loaf, promoting the work of artisans, supporting local businesses, providing skills training, creating job opportunities and supporting charitable causes - those are my aims with Grace and Favours too.”

While general craft workshops will be open to everyone, clients of The Good Loaf and C2C Social Action will be referred to take part in free workshops focussed on developing new skills.

Julie added: “The idea is to reduce the likelihood of people reoffending by using crafts as a rehabilitative tool which could provide a potential source of income.

“We have something for everyone because we host workshops that are open to the public, as well as offering props and accessories to hire for weddings, parties and events.”

The shop hosts stall space for nine local traders.