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.

Adam landed on day one with a skateboard under his arm. This wasn’t his main method of transport for getting to the workshop but a lifelong passion he’s had since the age of six. Together with his previous experience as a joinery apprentice, he was rearing to take things to the next level.

Continue reading “First Day in the Workshop is a Lift Off”

The Pen is Mightier than the Saw

Reclaiming discarded scraps of wood and turning them into something attractive and useful portrays only too well what we are all about at Handcrafted. Even a bit of timber is worthy of another chance. The Handcrafted Pen has been a “bestseller” since we produced the first batch over a year ago. We can’t make them quickly enough.

To date, over 60 of these little beauties have been turned out, and we are working on another batch for our Christmas Fayre on Friday 2nd December. Continue reading “The Pen is Mightier than the Saw”

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”

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 he was discharged and made it home it was a difficult coming to terms with life after the accident, because of his injuries a return to work wasn’t possible.  Brian didn’t know what the future held and what he’d be capable of.  Then a friend told him about Handcrafted…. Brian takes up the story

“Richard said to me ‘Why don’t you come along to Handcrafted, and you’ll be able to help people?’ So I started coming along and things just seemed to fall into place. I’m still recovering and a lot of people are helping me. I’m not fully where I want to be yet but Handcrafted is a big help.  It gets me out and I’ve started to do things that I’ve not done since school and I feel better for it, as all I would have been doing was sitting in the house doing nothing, dwelling on things that have happened.

Continue reading “Walking miracle: Brian’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”

What a difference a day makes: Dean’s Story

We’re continually inspired by the progress made and the creativity unlocked as trainees get involved with Handcrafted.  We asked Dean if we could share his story on our blog, and this is it, in his own words.

“I had a longstanding alcohol problem that had been going on for a number of years.  It cost me everything – my relationship with partners, contact with my children, job, driving licence, car, and my own business. Eventually this led to homelessness.

Continue reading “What a difference a day makes: Dean’s Story”

Canadian Connection

Dylan moved to the UK all the way from Canada and started volunteering with us through an internship placement with his Church.

Back home, Dylan really enjoyed woodwork and told us how excited he was about putting his skills into practice…

“I love how Handcrafted provides a place for people to come from any background and experience and learn a new skill they can carry into life. I also love that it doesn’t matter what they have been through, they are always welcome. Handcrafted provides a jump start for them to get ahead and out of whatever situation they are in”