Guest Post: Extreme Character Challenge 2018

At Handcrafted, we talk about ‘changing stories’. As people become part of a community, they find it easier to exit destructive cycles associated with other places and people. As they, turn their time and skills into real things like chairs and tables they reclaim a sense of self worth. Overcoming challenges, they turn ‘can’t’ into ‘can’.

Whether it is working with a team against the clock to complete a commission, making something they are proud to see being sold at one of our fayres or getting through another day without panicking, we see trainees grow in confidence through challenges.

Last month, a few of them volunteered to pit themselves against some mountains. Our founding trustee, Dan, went through it all with them and brought back this report: Continue reading “Guest Post: Extreme Character Challenge 2018”

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th of April has dawned; the most recent in a hat-trick of grey days when the weather has conspired to drag our moods down. Superstition dictates this is an unlucky day, that you might be safer to stay under the quilt, but we have a full compliment of trainees in the workshop, rearing to go at 9am.

Of course, we always keep a wary eye out for hazards and aim to stay safe, regardless of the date, but why not make this a day to count our blessings?

We asked around the trainees, “What was the ‘luckiest’ thing that ever happened to you?” Continue reading “Friday the 13th”

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 family and living in a hostel he had nothing to lose by giving Handcrafted a try.

Continue reading “Turning life the right way up again: Anthony’s Story”

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 thought that, if I started Handcrafted, which I’d heard a little bit about, I thought I might be able to get some sort of accommodation. So, I started coming along, although I knew I wasn’t going to like it as it was working with wood and I’ve never been interested in woodwork. My last experience of woodwork had been over 30 years ago when I was at school.”

Continue reading “Getting more than he came for: Ian’s Story”

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 sent me to Groundworks. I went along and the people there suggested a placement at Handcrafted. I‘d not heard of Handcrafted before, so asked around and heard they were a local charity doing woodwork and gardening that had been started by some people who went to one of the local churches. This made me wonder if it would be all Bible thumping and singing ‘Kum ba yah’. I couldn’t have been more wrong! All of the team and the lads that went along were perfectly normal and just wanted to help people get on and do practical stuff. I really enjoy woodwork, but when I first started to go there wasn’t much space in the workshop so I spent most of my time down at the gardening project.

Continue reading “Coming back for more: Tom’s story”

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 the bike he’s working on that’s being rebuilt.  He told us…

“I heard about Handcrafted through someone at the Salvation Army, it sounded like it would be something a bit different to do,  so I came along.

I’d been through a spell of being homeless; sometimes I’d stay in hostels and I’ve even ended up sleeping rough at times.  My health has been challenging too and I’ve been through a time of going in and out of hospital.  I’d say my faith in Jesus really got me through this tough spell and helped get my life sorted out again, so now I’m living independently. On the journey to where I am now, Handcrafted’s bike project has also been really helpful.

I’ve rediscovered, through working on bicycles there, that I have skills that I’d forgotten about and this has boosted my confidence.  The workshop is really friendly and we enjoy a good laugh as we work on the bikes; Continue reading “Rediscovering forgotten skills: John’s Story”

It’s not all about woodwork: Paul’s Story

We start each day in our workshop by gathering everyone together for what has come to be known as ‘the huddle’.  It’s the time when we chat through the day ahead, discuss plans, ask for or offer to help and of course share any news.  We’ve recently shared a couple of stories on our blog and via Facebook about some of our trainees and we were telling the huddle just how popular these had been, and asked if anyone else would like to tell their story.  Without hesitation Paul said he’d be up for it and so here it is

Continue reading “It’s not all about woodwork: Paul’s Story”

Brought back to life: Graham’s Story

Graham is a regular at Handcrafted; if you were to ever visit our workshop he’d definitely be one of the first guys to come and introduce himself and see if he could help you in anyway.  You’d be forgiven for feeling he was one of life’s naturally outgoing and confident people, but the journey he’s been on to arrive at this point hasn’t been without some pretty dramatic twists and turns.  He explains:

Continue reading “Brought back to life: Graham’s Story”

Confidence built, mood lifted.

Trevor is one of our trainees who has been coming along to Handcrafted since March 2016.  We asked him what difference Handcrafted has made in his life…

“A friend tried to get me to go to Handcrafted for 18 months. People told me I was no good so I didn’t come. Then I thought I would have a go of it and see what it’s like. When I did my first project I found out I could do a lot of things. I also suffer from mental health, although it is up and down, most of the time I’m okay now. I have built my confidence and it has lifted my mood.”