Startingpoint’s ‘School of Fish’ offers all aspects of training in the hospitality industry, and was first set up as a commitment by family-run fish and chip shop, Taylors, to provide training for their staff.
When Taylors started struggling due to the recession, owner Anne Wallace knew that rejuvenating the local precinct was key. Aged 60, Anne remortgaged her house and turned an empty unit into a coffee shop, which soon became a community hub hungry for informal adult learning.
With local backing and volunteering by Taylors staff, Startingpoint began offering basic IT training, which was sustained further with funding from the European Social Fund and the Transformation Fund. Startingpoint targeted over 500 learners with additional funding to operate as a UK Online Centre and by becoming a Community Capacity Builder, taking IT learning to local centres, including retirement homes and sheltered housing.
Startingpoint continues to build strong partnerships. It has set up a Quick Reads Reading Group and is part of Stockport College’s Life Changes scheme, offering adults a 12-week vocational learning programme leading to work and further education.
Anne Wallace, Startingpoint’s CEO said, “Our precinct is thriving again and there is a waiting list for businesses wanting to invest and operate here. This is a great place to live and learn. It’s the Big Society working at its best.”