First Step gets Fifth Gear start

Vikki Butler Henderson opens charitable garage

Published:  01 October, 2013

RACING driver turned TV presenter Vikki Butler Henderson has cut the ribbon on a new garage in Kent.

The garage is part of a social initiative known as the First Step Trust, which helps adults who may have been out of work for some time because of mental health issues or other disadvantages such as drug and alcohol recovery problems.

Apart from the site in Bexley, First Step Trust runs three other garages. Unusually, they have as many women as men involved in the scheme.

Speaking at the opening event, Chief Exec Ronnie Wilson said: "First Step Trust is about giving people the chance to deal with the pressures, responsibilities and obligations of ordinary working life. The vast majority of people coming to us have been excluded from mainstream employment for many years - some have never had the chance to work. We believe business can be a positive vehicle for change. We also want to do our bit to contribute to the local economy by building up trade and using local suppliers wherever possible."

Maria Andrews started on the scheme and is now helping other women learn more about their vehicles said: "It has been fantastic. They really understand people who have had mental health issues and it has given me so much confidence."

FST works with some of the most vulnerable and socially-excluded people in society. The organisation provides people with access to the pressures, responsibilities and obligations of working life to enable them to gain work experience and to build their skill level and qualifications. The garages are members of Motor Codes and welcome vehicles to be booked in for servicing or MOT work by members of the public.

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