RAW ambition on Blackbird Leys

By Richard Chidwick at

RAW, a social enterprise on Dunnock Way Blackbird Leys, has opened a large new retail outlet selling reclaimed wood and a range of wooden products. RAW already operates a busy joinery workshop and waste wood collection service from the site and the new shop is the latest addition to the growing enterprise.

The new shop sells a huge variety of reclaimed wood and timber at prices that are usually less than 50% of what major retailers charge. Customers will also be able to have wood cut-to-size on site and order different finishes too.

RAW’s main joinery workshop manufactures a range of high-quality products which are sold to large corporate customers and private individuals. RAW’s Wood Recycling service collects waste wood from builders and development sites. Both these, and the new shop, also offer training and placements for people who are facing disadvantage and barriers to work.

RAW prides itself on providing high quality services and products. RAW Managing Director, Rick Mower said: “We’re all about being the best we can beWe create products and offer services that compete in the market place and, at the same time, we create opportunities for people to gain skills, self-esteem and have a place where they are valued.”More than 85% of the RAW team will be dealing with of issues such as physical or learning difficulties, mental health illness, and recovery from addiction and criminal histories.

Frank who works at RAW said: “I do a variety of jobs from packing wood, helping in the yard and in the shop. I started working here in 2005 and all the staff are very helpful, and very pleasant…I’m pleased with what I do here”.

He added: “RAW really brings people in to the project as the jobs are great, and I enjoy helping people and colleagues out. It’s interesting what I do here, I keep busy here and it makes everyone happy.”

RAW have had a lot of support from local politicians such as Linda Smith and Helen Evans who can see that buying from social enterprises makes sense.

“Organisations, like local authorities, Colleges and housing associations can see that by buying from RAW they are creating social and environmental impact on a local level “without paying more or any drop in quality. It really is a win-win. Having the support of community leaders like Linda and Helen has been great,” said Rick.

For more information about Crew opportunities to join RAW or their products and services, contact Tel 01865 714111.