Trainee Stories — all blog posts

  • Covid-Secure Night Shelters: What a Win!

    Many of the creative people who bring their courage and skill to the Handcrafted community have experienced rough sleeping and homelessness first hand. So, when we were invited to collaborate with Durham Winter Night Shelter in making the shelter Covid-Secure, there was a real passion to help out. Here’s how the space was transformed by… Read more »

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  • One Big Family

    Our Gateshead workshop has increasingly become an array of cultures and languages. Recently, the number of our refugees and asylum seekers has grown, and they have shared their stories and become included in our diverse community.

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  • Making the Grade!

    The smile says it all. Keith is one of the first crop of trainees graduating from our in-house training program this month. Keith’s lovingly finished cue case is the envy of his pals at the local snooker club.

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  • First Day in the Workshop is a Lift Off

    Even though our trainees keep telling us that they are pleasantly surprised how friendly and inclusive our workshop is when they first come along, those first impressions are so important. It’s like day one in a new job or school: you don’t know what to expect and if you are going to fit in okay…. Read more »

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  • Wisdom from the Workshop

    by Justin Lau ‘Why doesn’t the Queen—’ [raises left hand] ‘—wave with this hand? … Because it’s mine!’ Laughter erupts around the table over steaming shepherd’s pie as jokes and banter flit across the room one after another like an impeccably coordinated symphony. Except there’s no one conductor; everyone’s directing, everyone’s performing, everyone’s judging if… Read more »

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  • Turning life the right way up again: Anthony’s Story

    Speaking to Anthony today, it’s hard to imagine he was at rock bottom just five months ago when he first showed up at our workshop. It had been a tough year. Anthony had started drinking after a relationship breakup, and he lost his job soon afterwards as things spiralled out of control. Estranged from his… Read more »

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  • Getting more than he came for: Ian’s Story

    Ian started coming along to our workshop in Langley Moor about six months ago. He really needed somewhere to live, and he thought he could put up with a bit of woodworking if that was going to be part of it. “I was staying at a friend’s house, but I couldn’t stay there indefinitely. I… Read more »

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  • Eight week turnaround: Jimmy’s Story

    “There’s only so long you can sit and spend your time looking at four walls” says Jimmy, reflecting on his life just eight weeks ago. “I would wake up any time and sit in my room doing nothing all day, and  so I thought I’d get my referral put in and start coming here.” Jimmy heard… Read more »

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  • Seven Brave The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

    The concept of Handcrafted was first inspired by a man who said, “After 12 years or taking heroin, stealing cars and getting benefits; I want to be someone who actually gives something.” He went on to do the Three Peaks challenge and raise £500 for WaterAid to provide clean water to drought-stricken areas. That same… Read more »

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  • Coming back for more: Tom’s story

    We’ve been reflecting recently about how people started to come along to Handcrafted in the first place.  Tom told us how he began to get involved. “I’d been unemployed for a few years and one day when I was at the Job Centre they told me that I’d needed to go on a course and… Read more »

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  • Walking miracle: Brian’s Story

    Life can sometimes seem to have a way of pulling the rug out from under our feet just when we least expect it.  Brian had been making his way to work when he has hit by a van – he ended up in a coma and spent best part of 2 months in hospital.  When… Read more »

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  • Rediscovering forgotten skills: John’s Story

    One of the things that we find most inspiring is when our trainees tell us how getting involved in any of our projects really helps them to grow in confidence and see themselves in a more positive way.  John has been coming along to or cycle maintenance project, and it’s clear that it’s not just… Read more »

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