Soap-Making Social Enterprise Firm Hopes to Clean Up in City Centre

Posted: 02 July 2010, in Sector News


A social enterprise business set up four years ago in Inverness to help adults with learning difficulties is enjoying the sweet smell of success – to such an extent that it has opened a new city-centre shop and factory.

Ness Soap was previously run from the Corbett Centre in the Merkinch, but yesterday it opened the doors of a fragrant new outlet in Strothers Lane, selling soaps and bath products handmade on the premises.

Over the past few years, the company has grown to offer more than 25 adults who face barriers to work due to learning difficulties the opportunity to develop skills.

It is funded by the Fairer Scotland Fund, Big Lottery Fund Volunteering Scotland Grant Scheme and HIE Inner Moray Firth.

Enterprise chairman David Smith said: “This is a hugely exciting move for Ness Soap and a great addition to the retail scene in Inverness.

“We are offering a range of natural products made by local people using the best essential oils.

“Our produce sales have grown rapidly in recent times through sales in various retailers, at the Eastgate Centre and to local businesses. For this reason, we have outgrown our small manufacturing facility in the Corbett Centre.

“We now have a fantastic shop and a modern manufacturing facility, which will allow us to expand our range and increase our sales.

“It will also allow us to recruit more trainees to come and help us make the products.

“We look forward to welcoming lots of people to the new shop where they can enjoy watching the products being made.

“Buying Ness Soap products will make a real difference to the lives of people living in Inverness.”

The string of retail units on Strothers Lane has been unoccupied for some time.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol said: “It’s very exciting that Ness Soap have opened a unit in Strothers Lane.

“They can continue doing the great work they do for the community, which in turn will create footfall in an underused area of the town centre.

“Ness Soap offers excellent opportunities for people to learn and engage as part of a team and I am sure this new location is a sign of some prosperous times ahead.”

The shop will be open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. The manufacturing workshop will open on Monday.

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