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Great way to do good with unwanted gifts

Published on: 31 Jan 2017


A CHARITY that supports young adults with learning difficulties is calling on the Fishponds community to help with its latest initiative.

PROPS - Providing Opportunities and Support - is based at the Vassall Centre and runs sessions to give people in their mid to late 20s important life skills so they can lead independent and fulfilling lives.

The charity is collecting unwanted toiletries so the young people can package them and present them to elderly people living in care homes.

Workers and volunteers say they would be grateful if Fishponds Voice readers could donate any toiletries, including Christmas gifts, that they do not need.

Helen Brittain, curriculum leader, said: "We're hoping it will be more than just dropping off the toiletries.  It's an opportunity for students to meet new people and find out about other people in our community. It's also good work experience for them to do something which is beneficial for other people."

Rather than just provide activities for the young adults, PROPS believes learning should involve the outside world.

So if the young people take part in gardening activities, which in itself is therapeutic and physical, they will also go on to either cook and eat the produce they have grown or sell it in the community.

"We operate as a business enterprise in a way, with all the proceeds coming back into PROPS," explains Helen.

Another example is students' artwork which is sold either at the Vassall Centre or at various pop-up shops hosted by big businesses like Aviva.

"We also have a print workshop where other businesses and individuals can order things like banners and T-shirts and our students will help with the designing, printing and going out on deliveries. We also make handmade soap, candles, cards, and paper to sell. 

"Some of our students will go on to employment so it is very useful for them to get some skills. We have also organised work placements which means students will be able to put that on their CVs. Other students, who may not go on to employment, are still earning valuable life-skills as well as work-related skills like teamwork, time-keeping skills and communication.

"We don't want our students just to come here and stay at PROPS, it is nice for them to interact with the community and make links."

PROPS is looking for more opportunities for students to sell their wares so would love the chance to be invited to any community events.

Anyone wishing to donate toiletries can drop them to the Vassall Centre. Care homes interested in forging links with the charity should call Helen on 0117 965 3514. More information is at

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