A community business which supports adults with learning difficulties to develop new skills threw open its doors for a showcase event.

Chopsticks North Yorkshire ltd, which is based in Northallerton, was set up by a group of adults with learning disabilities who began working for themselves chopping firewood from scrap timber, later developing into building wooden items.

The charity has also been named one of the Small Business 100 for 2023 which celebrates businesses across the UK and works toward Small Business Saturday on December 7.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Chopsticks members celebrate their showcase event

Ten staff support 25 people, mainly from the Hambleton area. The group also works with individuals suffering from mental health issues helping them to regain confidence, usually through volunteering.

Mayor of Northallerton councillor Phil Eames attended the showcase event along with Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire David Kerfoot and North Yorkshire councillor Caroline Dickinson.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Caroline Dickinson with Ella at Chopsticks

Manager Jan Glen said: "Everybody who visited seemed impressed by our kindling workshop and the variety of items that we build in our construction area, the Chopshed including bird tables, wooden trays, caddies and log stores etc.

"They were also shown some of our lovely glass art which has been made into coasters, placemats and table centres. These items will soon be for sale in our Etsy shop. We can also take orders for kitchen splashbacks in a customer's preferred colours.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Dom packing wood at Chopsticks

"We are a non-profit community business providing supported work for vulnerable adults in a fully equipped industrial workshop.

"We also upcycle, and repurpose items, offering a garden maintenance service for the elderly and disabled residents in our district and enable individuals to keep their independence by helping them with paperwork, to attend medical appointments, go shopping and socialise.

"We want to show the world that offering inclusive and safe employment may present more challenges, but it does not preclude a business from producing quality products and services that are sought after in the wider community. We want to highlight that everybody has skills, regardless of disabilities or age, and that we all take pride in making the business successful.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Rachel and Ed working at Chopsticks

"Our business was started over 25 years ago by people with learning disabilities who worked for themselves using axes to chop firewood from scrap timber and selling it to the general public. From that the business has grown to the point where we own our premises and have a fully automated workshop. The demand for our product continues to grow year on year.

"Our aim is to expand the range of items that we can produce by extending our workshop space. This will also enable us to upcycle and repurpose more items which is better for the environment and assists people in our community to perhaps have items they did not think they could afford.”

Orders can also be placed via links on the website and social media, https://www.chopsticksnorthyorkshire.co.uk or phoning on 01609 761 661.