The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norwich project launches first social enterprise 

SharelCafe450A Norwich Christian-based social action project has just launched its first social enterprise in the north Suffolk town of Beccles.

STEP (Standing Together Empowering People) Norwich, which has been working with vulnerable women for the past eight years in Norwich, has recently expanded its operations and launched the Sharel @ STEP social enterprise in Northgate, Beccles.
It incorporates a foodbank, tea room and drop-in centre designed to offer vulnerable people the opportunity to establish a home environment to be proud of.
Sharel aims to offer emotional help and support, but also practical aid by stocking good quality secondhand furniture at affordable prices, according to its director of programmes Theresa Cumbers, a former magistrate and co-founder of the well-known Magdalene Project which continues to work with street girls in Norwich.
Theresa said: “Sharel is about sharing love in action and our prayers are that we will open our second social enterprise in Norwich. Within just two weeks of opening the doors in Beccles we have received over 100 people, many hurting, many hungry, many suffering from spiritual poverty and not realising what it is they are suffering from, but love in action by the team has encouraged them to hold on tight.”
SharelOutside450The drop-in centre will link with other agencies to give people financial guidance and all profits will be ploughed back into Step to ensure the sustainability and growth of the project.
Theresa said although the enterprise had been set up with vulnerable people and their families in mind, it was open to the whole community: “Our aim in STEP is to provide a sense of family and community where the women and their families can be encouraged to grow in confidence and self-esteem. We have seen many hurting lives changed for the good of themselves, their children and extended families.
“We began Step eight years ago as a project offering the next step away from a lifestyle of abuse for many women and their children who lived in and around the surrounding suburbs of Norwich. This work continues in Norwich. Amazing women peer mentoring and encouraging one another, helping and supporting one another through tough times, especially with the new Welfare Reform,” said Theresa. 
For more information, or to volunteer at Sharel or at the ongoing work in Norwich, call 01502 217891 or email To donate furniture, call 0800 1300 466.

Pictured above is the Sharel project in Beccles.

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