Highland BlindCraft

Highland BlindCraft

They work like a dream

Highland BlindCraft – Where It All Began

Posted: October 21st, 2019 | Posted in: Blog

“The deprivation of sight has been shown to be no disqualification for a life of ordinary usefulness. Nor has it stood in the way of pre-eminent success in almost every department of human labour.”

Highland BlindCraft’s roots lie in teaching the blind. We hold the belief that if someone has the willingness to work then paid employment should be an option for all people, including those who suffer from a disability. When the factory was established, BlindCraft employees were given the same rights and conditions as able-bodied people in the workplace. We continue to run the organisation with the same principle today.

Where it all Began

Established 24th March 1881, a home was set up on Ardconnel Street, Inverness to provided education and employment opportunities to blind and visually impaired individuals in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The home accommodated 18 blind pupils for an annual payment of £10 – including education.

balck and white pcitrue of old school room

Pupils accepted to live in the House were aged 8-16 years old. Alongside an ordinary education, pupils were also taught industrial employment skills in preparation for working life. Boys were taught the art of basket weaving, while girls were taught sewing skills. It was not until the early 1900s that BlindCraft progressed into the bed making industry, and a new shop was built on Castle Street, Inverness.

Black aqnd white photo of mattress factory

Each pupil received board, washing and lodging facilities in the home. However, they were provided with a list of ‘essential’ items that they were required to take with them during their residency.

 

type writter text A list of items required by all those coming to live and work at the Highland BlindCraft school during the early 1900s.

1918, saw BlindCraft opened the doors to their current factory at 39 Ardconnel Street, Inverness and later added the shop. Over the years the factory has been extended and modernised and is now home to the design, manufacturing and production of high-quality products handmade by locally employed individuals.

Highland BlindCraft is still run with the same concept today. Although we now provide opportunities to individuals with a variety of disabilities. Even though BlindCraft is no longer a school, we continue to offer development and training opportunities to all our team members should they wish to partake. These opportunities include IT skills, numerancy and literacy training, certificated qualifications and much more. The aim is for our team members to one day take these skills and progress into unsupported employment.

Since the factory’s beginning, we have developed our product and service range from basket weaving, to bed and mattress manufacturing. Continuing to develop our product range to include; headboards, divan bed bases, footstools, ottomans and much more, all handmade in our Inverness factory.

 

 

 

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