Caramel Rock is making a difference

In one of the many new developments popping up in Gallions Reach Caramel Rock is making a massive difference to youngsters with challenging backgrounds who may otherwise have “fallen through the cracks”.

Caramel Rock was set up by Newham-based Faith Johnson Managing Director 10 years ago, starting out as a small sewing club for vulnerable students.

It now gives people the chance to gain a variety of qualifications, including Btec levels one, two and three in fashion, art and design, but most importantly, it offers opportunities to people struggling with education, employment or training. Caramel Rock is set out to address some of the skills gaps in fashion working with young people in schools from the age of 14-16 as well as post 16 provisions and adult education training in fashion.

It also partners students with brands such as Classic Cuts and Osman London, where they carry out work experience.

Faith said: “When we first started Caramel Rock in Custom House it was always our vision to see young people from diverse and challenging backgrounds who are sometimes not suited to the traditional classroom environment come to our academy and thrive and excel in what they have an unswerving passion to do, that’s creative and fashion orientated.

“Our charity makes a massive contribution not only to the people we train but also the local community, so it is really important from time to time to stop and celebrate the achievements of our students and let people know what we have to offer and what our former students have achieved.”

Project leader Funmi Akingbad said she was told time and time again by students that to them it “feels like home at Caramel Rock”.

“We are a very inclusive organisation and we thrive on that – we have students that have mental disabilities and those that suffer from anxiety”.

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