On the 21st October, over 100 people attended the official opening of the Stepping Stones Cookie Bar, a COINS social enterprise. The enterprise will be run for profit, with the profits going back to the schools and projects supported by COINS Foundation. In the case of this Hindhead enterprise, 50% of the profits will go back to Stepping Stones School www.steppingstones.org.uk, a local school for students with mild disabilities also based in Hindhead, Surrey.

The social enterprise will offer the school the opportunity of greater financial independence. The school has already come a very long way in terms of financial independence under Head Neil Clark, who has 17 years of previous experience as Head of Treloars School (a specialist school for disability). Neil has been responsible for the successful building of student numbers at Stepping Stones. He has been instrumental in creating the uplifting and thriving school that it is today.

The social enterprise will offer the school the opportunity of greater financial independence. The school has already come a very long way in terms of financial independence under Head Neil Clark, who has 17 years of previous experience as Head of Treloars School (a specialist school for disability). Neil has been responsible for the successful building of student numbers at Stepping Stones. He has been instrumental in creating the uplifting and thriving school that it is today.

The Cookie Bar social enterprise will provide an opportunity for students from the school to experience hands on, all aspects of running a business. It will be part of their school curriculum and may also provide Saturday jobs or indeed longer term employment. In this way, it will help the students in their journeys to become social and economic contributors.

Online Cookie Bar ordering is a significant aspect of ensuring the financial success of the enterprise and will further enhance this opportunity for the students. The web does not recognise physical disability, only intellectual capability. Macs and iPads will be available. There will be other initiatives within the Cookie such as art exhibitions and workshops.

To help the “business” succeed we will aim to leverage our business contracts. We will use the web and social networking to tap into the extended networks of others.

With profits also going back to the COINS Foundation community projects, we hope the student will also gain awareness about others less fortunate than themselves.

Thank you to Lord Joel Joffe, (Nelson Mandela’s defence lawyer) who is a patron of the COINS Foundation, for attending the opening and helping us to cut the ribbon. Also to the extensive team who have worked hard to develop the concept and to bring this first Cookie Bar into operation.

We believe we can replicate this concept and build a network of Cookie Bars across the UK. The next one could be located in Chiswick, and we are in initial conversations with Chiswick School.

Please visit our Cookie Bar, rather than alternative corporate coffee/cookie facilities. Also, please pass on our details to your extended networks to help us build the corporate orders that will support the venture.