Before joining the team at Handcrafted, John held a number of influential posts using enterprise to bring about change in communities and hope to individuals. Along with his broad experience, he brings a passion to see people grow in confidence, ability and self-esteem.
“Change is possible, and it can be radical – but time needs to be invested in connecting with people as individuals, working together to plan next steps, and keeping one another accountable along the way.”
John lives in Gateshead with his wife, Susan, and Elvis the wonder-dog. He enjoys playing bass guitar in his spare time.
Dave: Workshop Manager
Dave has enjoyed a varied career which has seen him swap classroom for bathroom and then on to the Handcrafted workshop. He’s accomplished, practical and hot on safety. He manages our workshop, and has a key role in inspiring our trainees to believe in themselves and develop their abilities, as well as make sure it is tidy, safe and well stocked with good quality equipment and tools.
“I love seeing the guys begin to see themselves in a different, positive way. Many of them have been told repeatedly that they’ll never amount to anything but watching them get recognition and praise from the other trainees and people in their families as they create things which they can take real pride in gives me a real buzz.”
In his spare time Dave is an apiarist (beekeeper) which also gives him a buzz.
From fundraising through daily administration to finance, staying on top of social media, and dealing with a stream of enquiries, Lorraine wears many hats. Her weighty experience in a range of roles and organisations such as the Salvation Army, a national family support charity and the education sector fit her to make an essential contribution to the team.
“I don’t believe in the ‘VIP’ culture, I believe that everyone is a VIP; everyone should have the opportunity to move on into being all that they can be in life.”
Seymour: Support Worker
Seymour brings his training and experience as a mental health nurse to his work with our trainees and tenants. Whether helping them to achieve long-term goals or deal with the daily hiccups of life, he has an inexhaustible expectation that people can change and turn their lives around.
“Handcrafted offers some of the best keys for unlocking change: being physically active, using your hands to make things, belonging to a community, having a routine, being loved by people who won’t give up on you.”
Stu: Support Worker,
Stu worked in the builder’s trade for many years and ran his own business as well as voluntarily doing all he could to reach and support homeless and marginalised people in Newcastle. He leads the way with his practical skills and a big heart for people. Stu particularly works with trainees on our Property Renovation and Enterprise projects, building and repairing homes and playing an essential role in building and repairing the lives of those he supports.
Henry: Support Assistant
Henry is a recent graduate from Durham University and was a regular summer volunteer at Handcrafted as a student.
“I love spending time with the lads here and seeing what they’re passionate about. Whatever people have said about these guys in the past, they are a joy to hang out with. It’s so great to see people taking steps forward wherever they’ve come from, which happens all the time in this project.”
Henry is famous for his baggy trousers but for health and safety reasons he can’t wear them in the workshop.
Greg is no stranger to making the best of unexpected setbacks in life after a knee injury put an end to several years as a bike courier in London. Greg retrained as a bicycle mechanic and now inspires and directs trainees at our Gateshead project, where they learn to build, repair and recycle bicycles.
“I love the camaraderie here, and I love teaching others and seeing that ‘light bulb moment’ when the penny drops for them.”
Matt is a local social entrepreneur who runs the Landscape Gardening project. He has a van, a ready smile and a passion to make a difference to his community through enterprise and training. He passes on his horticultural skills on to our trainees on Thursdays and Fridays.
Norman has been volunteering with us since day one. He brings a huge amount of experience with him following on from 37 years in teaching woodwork and metal work. Norman is an expert at using hand tools and enjoys passing these skills on to our trainees. He is also one of the trustees who oversee the project.
Dan set Handcrafted up 4 years ago. He is a trustee as well as a volunteer, and he supports John in managing the project. He is an accountant in his real job which he just about squeezes into the rest of week. Dan brings his experience of leading volunteers and a longing to provide practical help to destitute people.
Richard is an indispensable volunteer and trustee, with a background in Local Authority management, who plays a vital role across all our projects. He supports all our staff and has a natural gift for working pastorally with our trainees.