And now, a word from one of our supporters …

Our regular supporters have the opportunity to spend half a day with us in the workshop, to get the “Handcrafted Experience”, make something, and meet our trainees. This week, Renee and Adam joined us and brought Dad along too. We took the opportunity to ask Renee what motivated her to make a regular financial commitment to our work. Now we are glowing!


Here’s what she said:

We came along to the celebration evening in the Summer, but we already loved the vision of the project: the combination of mentoring, teaching skills and investing in people. In particular, I love the training that equips people to produce something of worth.

Since the project is also faith based, I like the fact that, when people open up, there’s an opportunity for them to be prayed for, or to come to church.

As a result, some of these guys now have growing, healing relationships with family and friends they had once been estranged from. The project feels like its influence goes beyond just introducing a new skill set; it goes on to impact the entire lives of the trainees.

My dad is a wood worker, and I love what is produced here. I believe we were designed as humans to make things, and that creativity brings peace and healing.

There are so many aspects of handcrafted that fit together together: I love everything about the heart behind it, the strategy behind it and how attention is given to where people are coming from and what works best for them. I love the discernment and sensitivity shown in partnering with trainees to meet them where they are and supporting them to be better equipped and empowered … even providing opportunities to do things with their kids, to create a stronger bond.

I like the way the day is structured and the workshop feels like a safe place to be known, to get hands-on experience, producing something to be proud of. It feels comfortable and inspiring.


Find out how you could support our projects on a regular basis.

Dyed in the wool NUFC supporter caught red and white handed

We’re breaking down barriers at handcrafted!

Anyone who has been in the Northeast for more than a week or two knows there is no love lost between rival fans of the two biggest local teams. The rivalry gives rise to plenty of banter in the workshop.

Mark has been a Newcastle United supporter all his life, for better or (more recently) for worse. We’ve had to keep a constant supply of black and white paint on order, so that he can complete his projects with their characteristic monochrome livery. So it wasn’t for lack of paint that we found Mark choosing the colours of “the other team” for his latest creation.

Red and White

Our trainees enjoy the opportunity to make for themselves the things they need, but they also get the means to make gifts for others. When he decided to make a chess board for a friend from Sunderland, Mark found himself reaching for the red paint in an unprecedented gesture of generosity.

Sixty four red and white squares later, Mark had to take a tactical break. The last time I spoke to him, he was painting a badger…


Lights … Camera … and More Lights

It was a proud moment for Handcrafted trainee, Ade, to see his handiwork on television several hours after it was completed and installed in the Old Church at Sacriston.

Give me a ‘D’!

Standing about a meter high, Ade’s illuminated letters formed the backdrop to celebrations at Dan and Kim’s wedding reception. The couple had opted to serve guests with delicious ‘wasted’ food that would otherwise have been thrown out by local supermarkets. Not surprisingly, the story attracted the news hounds.

In the first few seconds of the TV footage, the camera took in a sweeping scene with Ade’s glowing marquee lettering making a stunning background.

Building this project was a team effort, with staff and several volunteers stepping up to help Ade. Specific projects with a definite goal in sight energise the workshop as everyone pulls together and puts pride in their work. However, this story also depicts the first step into exploring a new enterprise idea for one of our trainees.

As we see people grow an attitude of “can do” through making stuff in our workshop, many of our long-term out-of-work trainees begin to think of doing something they are good at as a possible career. Handcrafted Enterprise stream then ensures they have the right support to do a business plan, test their idea, find a market and access funds that are available to help them get started.

The verdict on the lettering? Spectacular!

Ade said, “The best thing was seeing the bride’s face light up when she saw the letters.”

Nice one, Ade. Six letters of the alphabet completed: only twenty more to go!