An award-winning company which employs people with disabilities to make jams, marmalade and chutney is appealing to the community to help keep the project running.
Auntie Val’s Limited, based in the Chantry Trading Estate, Storrington, says it may be forced to close unless it can raise £10,000 over the next two weeks.
This money would cover the cost of a machine which puts labels onto the jars of marmalades and chutneys made by a team of disabled people – known as the Jammy Dodgers – before they are shipped out to hotels and shops.
Founder of Auntie Val’s and professional carer Val Challis said closing the manufacturing side of the business would cost many disabled people their jobs. “In two weeks’ time, unless there is a significant cash input, Auntie Val’s Kitchens CIC will close its kitchens,” she said.
“There will be no more high-quality jams, marmalades and chutneys for consumers.
“Six members of disabled staff will lose their jobs and with that the continuing ability to change their lives and the opportunity to socialise with their peers.
“This will mean a reduction in life-changing opportunities for adults with disabilities.
“There will be less opportunity in the future to give many more disabled adults a chance to change their lives.”
Auntie Val’s Limited became a not-for-profit Community Interest Company in 2015 by providing a number of disabled people with paid work.
It has won a number of awards for its valuable work, including the West Sussex County Times Charity of the Year 2016.
Sharon Baker, whose daughter is employed by Auntie Val’s, believes it has changed her daughter’s life.
She said: “She used to spend all her time in her room and just couldn’t get on with university.
“I tried looking for help but it wasn’t until I called Auntie Val’s that we got a solution. I expected them to say they couldn’t help but they didn’t and they’ve helped her so much.
“Please act now to enable this amazing and award-winning CIC company to continue their fantastic work, and give them the chance to make a significant difference to the well-being of disabled people of all ages.”
If you would like to help support Auntie Val’s Limited, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abilitynotdisability to donate.