Enter … Aly – our new Project Development Officer

Narrator’s Voice: We’ve been running a workshop in Gateshead since January 2017, practically working out our conviction that the Handcrafted way of doing things can have a powerful effect in other localities. Initially open for just 8 hours a week, and running bicycle repair courses alongside woodworking in a small workshop, we were helped by a lot of interest from other organisations and began to settle into a niche that offered something new and made a big difference to our first brave group of pioneering trainees. You can read about the early days here.

Having moved to a new space in April this year, the project has picked up momentum and the time has come for it to have its own Project Development Officer, someone with the unique mix of passion, creativity, compassion and practical smarts to take things to the next level.

(Aly enters stage left wearing combat trousers and a headband and brandishing a drill, like some sort of pallet-repurposing freedom fighter)

Narrator: Meet Aly, the latest addition to our team. She speaks five languages, including Geordie. In addition to being multilingual, she’s multiskilled and multilayered, having worked as a support worker with adults in care, run creative workshops for all ages and developed a startup business as well as building batteries for a technology company and laying floors at Re:fuse cafe.

Aly, tell us why you wanted to work for Handcrafted?

Aly: I’m passionate about seeing people grow in confidence, learning new skills and beginning to see themselves in a different – more positive way, and Handcrafted is a place where I see this happening and, even better, I get to be involved.

Narrator: And what’s been the best thing so far?

Aly: Meeting the trainees has been really inspiring. Not only do they make such beautiful things but the way they help, support and encourage each other is incredible. I’m a naturally creative person and I guess a lot of my initial expectations were about the kinds of wonderful things we’d be able to make. What has surprised me though is just the rich sense of community the guys have with each other, and I’ve been blown away by their welcome.

Narrator: Well, I know people have enjoyed chatting to you and introducing you to our work here in Durham. I’m sure you’ll thrive in your new role, designing and creating, networking and training volunteers and trainees in Gateshead. We wish you all the best; welcome to the team!

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