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By Tristan Harris Wednesday 28 August 2013 Updated: 28/08 12:51
CROWDS gathered in Longbridge this morning (Wednesday) for the eagerly awaited opening of the town's new Sainsbury's supermarket which has created almost 300 jobs for residents.
More jobs will also be available in the next two months.
The official launch of the new store, on the former MG Rover site, was done by the acting Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Coun Mike Sharpe, along with manager Andy White and Ken Butlas - a Sainsbury's employee who worked at the car factory for 37 years.
Making reference to the area's motor-building past, a vintage Mini was also on show at the event.
Coun Andy Cartwright welcomed the store’s long-awaited arrival and said: “I’d like to thank Sainsbury’s for all the fantastic work they’ve done in our community so far.
"It’s great to see new employment opportunities for local people, and I look forward to working with the store team in building a brighter future together for Longbridge.”
The Standard reported on Friday (August 23) how the first dedicated Autism charity in the West Midlands - Autism Birmingham Community Interest Company - would also be opening the doors of its new charity shop in the town centre today.
The charity, started Lisa and Peter Mace, from south Birmingham, whose boys George, ten, and Ben, 14, both have autism, has already formed a partnership with Sainsbury's.
The Longbridge shop, which will sell clothes, toys and house-hold items, will be the charity’s second alongside Autism Birmingham’s launch outlet in Stirchley.
After being set up in March, the charity has already provided dedicated help to five children and has been requested to pro-vide autism awareness training to 350 employees at the new Sainsbury’s store.
Lisa said her boys were the inspiration to launching the charity and the shops, , adding it was very difficult for families to buy equipment specifically designed for autistic children and the charity was able to order in tailored products specific to people’s needs.
"We might go into a shop and the lights won’t bother us but they could cause pain to an autistic child.
“Sometimes you can be sitting there and everything will be fine and then all of a sudden they will have a meltdown.
"But they can’t tell you what’s wrong, they are just in a zone. It is very distressing.”
Representatives from the charity were at the launch.
Store manager Andy White added: “We look forward to working with and supporting good causes such as Autism Birmingham as well as others now and in the future.”
“It’s the start of a new era for Longbridge and it’s very exciting to be a part of it."
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