Local Small Business Owner Gets Involved with Weston College!

My name is Bethan, and I am the proud owner of Simply Green, a zero-waste shop in Nailsea. The premise of the shop is to encourage customers to reuse and cut down on single-use plastic. We encourage the use of bringing your own containers to refill with however much you need of each product, with the price you pay being dependent on weight, resulting in the whole process being more cost effective! When sourcing the products, I try to ensure they are local suppliers, as well as ethically produced. My aim is to expand my range to allow customers to buy even more products with no packaging.

I grew up locally, and always spent my time outside, which I think is what subconsciously kick started my interest in protecting the environment. I’d used zero waste shops previously and really enjoyed the style of shopping, especially knowing it’s guilt-free on the environment!

I have been involved with Weston College in multiple ways; one of which was providing supported work experience placements for leaners with SEND from Weston College through the ‘Into Work’ initiative, in both Simply Green shops in Nailsea and Portishead. I have three leaners helping with the running of both shops and are a hugely valuable asset to the company. They are great at chatting to customers and allow me to catch up on things I don’t normally have the chance to when working by myself.

I would definitely recommend taking on work experience learners as they are a huge help to the everyday running of the business, and it benefits them just as much as they are gaining workplace experience which will help them in their future, as well as confidence in themselves. Additionally, the initiative provides specialist knowledge and advice, and carefully matches your business to the learner who will support you the best and meet both sets of needs to ensure everyone is happy! The whole scheme is very carefully pieced together, and it results in an unmissable opportunity.

My involvement in this scheme lead to a nomination for Disability Confident Employer of the Year at the Business Awards, which was a huge surprise, but wonderful for getting the recognition for the business, but more importantly, the learners and their development of their workplace skills to help unlock their future!

The second way I have been involved with Weston College was through the Accelerate Project, funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. I’d heard about the initiative through multiple sources, including Instagram and having been contacted by the college about the work experience learners. The aim was hugely beneficial to myself and my business in advising smaller local businesses through free short-term training and workshops, all which helped me understand my business better, and make difficult decisions I would have struggled to make by myself.

Due to my involvement in the Accelerate Project, I even managed to win the Accelerate Participant of the Year award at the 2022 Business Awards, which was a huge surprise to me!

My involvement with Weston College has been highly beneficial to both my business, and I am so grateful for the support I received from everyone there.

Bethan - Simply Green

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