A million smiles better!

Adults with learning disabilities who previously went to Waterloo Woodwork’s industrial unit in Chelmsley Wood to gain work experience and training now have paid jobs  doing something very different.

In the past six months alone they have assembled a million parts for Automotive Insulations, a leading Midlands supplier to the automotive industry.

The old Waterloo Woodwork timber products enterprise continues but this is now running alongside a new parts-assembly operation called Colebridge Enterprises, started last October.

The assembly operation is the result of Jim Griffin from Automotive Insulations meeting Charles Rapson from Colebridge Trust on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Growth Programme at Aston Business School.

“Before we started this business,” says Charles Rapson, Enterprise Manager at the Colebridge Trust, “there were three questions we needed to answer. One, could we do the volume of parts needed to make it viable? Two, could we meet the quality standards our customer needed? And three — and most importantly — would our clients enjoy the work?”

One million parts in just over six months answers the question about volume. Jim Griffin, Automotive Insulations‘ MD, answers the question about quality: “We’re delighted with the work that Colebridge Enterprises does for us. We are pleasantly surprised with how capable and productive they are and we have no complaints about the quality of parts returned to us. It’s at least as good as any other supplier we use.”

And the picture of some of Colebridge Enterprises’ new workers speaks volumes about their finding the work enjoyable. Colebridge Enterprises | Work experience, training and employment for people with learning disabilities

For more information about Colebridge Enterprises send mail to Charles Rapson.


Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website
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