“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 about Handcrafted from another resident at the hostel where he lives, and it sparked his interest as he already has a Level 1 NVQ based in woodworking.
In his first fortnight with us, Jimmy created a series of decorated placards for himself and friends. Then he came up with an idea for a set of coasters and a holder that proved so popular he got got his first order from it. Now he is in the workshop every day and has gone on to make his own design of bookcase and a CD rack and candle holder in the shape of his initials. These are the things that have given him the most pleasure:
“The biggest enjoyment I’ve had so far has been out of some of the things I’ve made that I have sitting in my room, like my bookcase and my placards.”
I ask him how he would describe the difference that coming to the workshop each day has made:
I feel a lot better in myself; I feel a lot more outgoing. I just feel like it’s made us a better person in general. It’s improved my depression a bit. I’m making new friends as well.
Jimmy also talks about how being part of Handcrafted will help him with his longer term goal of becoming a mechanic: “You get people coming to handcrafted from all walks of life. When you are in the mechanics business, that whole trade is people from all aspects of life so it’s all transferable skills.”
In the short term, Jimmy is full of ideas and is finding ways to use his recently developed skills to give back to the community:
“I’ve got two projects on the go at the moment. I’ve got my pallet table and I’ve got the massive wooden ‘H’, which I’m making into shelves. Both of those projects aren’t for myself actually but they are for Handcrafted, for the Christmas Fayre. After I’ve done both of those I’ve got a commission to make a hutch that looks like a house – but it’s for a cat!”
It sounds like a challenge that he’ll be up to.
In fewer than eight weeks, Jimmy has gone from staring at four walls to getting commissions for his work. He’s trying to encourage others he knows to come along too.
It’s not as scary as you might think. Everyone’s easy to get on with. Staff are quite understanding; if you’ve got a problem then they will help you. It’s a great thing to do, keeps your, mind active. keeps you from being bored.