Pulp Friction - Our Story

Written by Jill - co founder of Pulp Friction

Pulp Friction Smoothie Bar started when my daughter, Jessie, was 17 and a number of her non-disabled friends were getting themselves part-time jobs. Jessie wanteda job – she wanted to work in a “posh restaurant” – but the reality of an employer being able to give Jess the level of support she would need to work part-time was very unlikely.

We started looking for something Jessie could do with my support which would help her to develop the skills she would use when working in a cafe or restaurant. Jess recognised that she needed to develop her independence and social skills first and get some experience in the world of work. Whatever we found would have to match with the rest of the family, my work commitments and Jessie’s interests and capabilities.

We saw a smoothie bike at a festival at Nottingham Castle and both agreed that if we could buy a smoothie bike from him then Jessie and a couple of her friends could run it at school and youth club. In 2009 Jessie and four friends applied for funding from the Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF) and succeeded in getting the money to buy a bike – the Pulp Friction Smoothie Bar Project was born!

The original idea was for Jessie and her friends to run the bike at youth club and at school but once people heard about the Project we started getting bookings to attend local events and more people wanted to join us. We ran as a voluntary community group for the next 2 years.

By 2011 we were at the point where I thought we could run as a business and offer actual paid work to our Project Members, so after 24 years working for local authorities as a youth & community worker I took the plunge - and voluntary redundancy........

We incorporated as a Community Interest Company in 2011 and now we have 5 people with LD on our payroll, we have 5 smoothie bikes, a bike which makes ice-cream,a pedal-powered power station and a vintage-style ice cream tricycle. We offer work experience to young adults with learning disabilities and learning difficulties and voluntary placements to non-disabled young adults. Our focus is on enabling our Members to develop their social, independence and work-readiness skills. All profits go back into the Company to support a wide range of social and leisure activities including our Inclusive Community Choir, 2 Allotment sites, Residential Opportunities, training workshops,day-trips etc.

PulpFriction is so much more than a small successful business, it offers a community where friendships can grow, people can flourish and ambitions can beachieved

We are excited to be collaborating with GFN for the next Nottingham hack and we hope that Nottingham’s creative talent can help us let people know we are much more than a pop-up smoothie bar. Our three briefs have been published here.

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