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How a new shop will help get people back to work

PUBLISHED: 17:13 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 02 September 2019

Kassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: Submitted

Kassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: Submitted

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A woman with more than a decade worth of experience helping people find jobs is preparing to open her first shop, which will give struggling young people valuable work experience.

Kassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: SubmittedKassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: Submitted

The shop on Queens Road, Hethersett, has been a curtain and blinds store for many years, but is due to be renovated and reopened in October selling clothes, books and games.

Kassie Prime, a 61-year-old grandmother from Hethersett, is behind the project.

She said her aim for the shop was to equip 16 to 24-year-olds with practical skills such as book keeping and profit management, but also emotional support to battle the demons holding them back from entering the world of work.

She said: "It can be quite the transition from school to finding a job and a lot of youngsters with anxiety and depression struggle even more. If you can get in there as soon as possible and talk to them about how they're feeling it can make a real difference."

Kassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: SubmittedKassie Prime is opening the new shop in Hethersett next month. Photo: Submitted

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Ms Prime formerly worked for the department of works and pensions, guiding people with emotional and learning difficulties into employment, but said that increasingly tight time restrictions made it difficult to make an impact.

Frustrated, she began assembling a team of seven volunteers, all with experience of personal mental illness or with family members who have struggled.

Ms Prime said this experience was vital for the role, as she wanted to create a "judgement-free zone" for the people working at the shop.

She added: "A lot of what we do will be breaking down stigma. Talking about mental illness has got easier but for youngsters it's still very difficult."

The revamped shop is due to open in October, and will feature a training room for lessons about ordering stock, profit margins and creative presentation.

Ms Prime hopes to recruit students from local schools, and will be in contact with social services and the Matthew Project to find people that could benefit from the scheme.

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