In the mid 1980’s a Social Worker working on the Rehabilitation Ward at Scalebor Park Hospital in Burley In Wharfedale realized there was little opportunity and/or training to assist people with long term mental health problems back into employment. To remedy this, a project comprising three workshops was started in the cellar of a Victorian house, (hence the name,) which was being used as a group home for people who were recently discharged from hospital.
The first workshops were woodwork, textiles and painting. All contributed towards a range of children’s play furniture and dressing up clothes which were sold through craft fairs at first and later through a catalogue. The aim of the project was to provide a relaxed, non threatening environment in which people who were recently discharged from hospital could gain confidence and social skills before applying for paid employment.
The fact that the project was an independent organisation from the very beginning, with no formal connection with hospitals, or social services, was seen as one of its strengths. People who had become disenchanted with the statutory bodies felt accepted at The Cellar Project.
The popularity of the project grew until it had outgrown the limited space available in the cellar, so in 1990 it rented part of the old St Walburga`s Catholic Primary School in Farfield Road, Shipley (pictured above). It wasn’t long before that was also too small and The Cellar Project took over the whole building, eventually buying it.
It was during this time that the whole ethos of mental health was changing; the large hospitals were closing and community care was being implemented, drug therapy was improving and people were being encouraged and helped to manage their symptoms better and to embrace a lifestyle that included work. Against this background The Cellar Project began to respond by increasing its efforts to prepare its clients for employment. In 1992 in a joint initiative with the then Department of Employment, the first two employment workers were employed specifically to assist clients into employment, be that voluntary or paid, full time or part time. These workers were to provide training in the skills needed for work, find work placements and support clients and their employer in the work place .
From the late 1990’s until 2008 The Cellar Project itself experienced a difficult and uncertain time. In 2006 the existing manager became seriously ill and sadly she died in 2007. In 2008 the Management Committee advertised for a new Manager whose job would be to re-organise the project with an emphasis on employment training and securing the future of the project. Marilyn Beech was appointed Manager from May 2008.
In line with funding and government expectations The Cellar Project has since developed its employment and training services further by integrating an extended Client Support Service with the existing workshop framework. This new structure supports clients through the Personal Development Programme, to regain confidence and acquire the necessary basic employability skills before accessing more job specific services through the Employment Programme.
We are currently working in a very fragile and difficult financial climate when we are uncertain of future funding. It is essential in this climate that we work to develop increasing independence from commissioned income. As a social enterprise, we have to diversify our income streams to include more non commissioned income in order to build financial robustness into our business so that we can emerge from this a stronger organisation, better able to meet the needs of our clients in the 21st century.
New Name. New Logo. The same dedication & commitment.
In April 2013 The Cellar Project became “The Cellar Trust”. Sometimes organisations want to change their name to modernise their image, sometimes they have outgrown their name, sometimes they change to acknowledge exciting growth.
Our change from Project to Trust is for all of these reasons. The Cellar Project has been a big part of the mental health scene in Bradford for the last twenty seven years so it was easy to decide that the Cellar part of our name should be retained but we needed the rest to better reflect our longevity. We feel the change to Trust does exactly that.
During the last twenty seven years The Cellar Project has helped countless individuals rebuild their lives following a period of illness and we have done that through working in partnership with others. This will remain the same. Our commitment to our clients and to delivering the highest quality of service will always remain the same. As The Cellar Trust we look forward to working with you to deliver exceptional services in the future.