Do I need previous experience to come along to Handcrafted?
No. We are delighted to see absolute beginners as well as seasoned experts. Everyone can learn something and start to achieve satisfying results, starting from wherever they are.
Is Handcrafted just for men?
No. Most of our trainees are men but some are women, and they are always welcome. We also have our Chester-le-Street Women’s Group on Thursday mornings. You can read the story of one of our female trainees on our blog: Lauren’s Story.
Would I have to come to Handcrafted every day?
No. Most of our trainees attend on days of the week that suit them or might only come along occasionally. However, there is a limit to how many places we can provide each day. We may need to discuss with you which days would be best, so that places can be allocated fairly if there is a high demand for them.
I need somewhere to live. How can I get a Handcrafted House?
Come and make stuff at one of our workshops; get to know us and give us the opportunity to get to know you. We like to get people into the right place for them, somewhere they will be able to stay and call a home, and this means living in a suitable location with people you get on with. We’ll get to know you so that we can get those things right and keep supporting you if we can find a place for you.
You could become involved in renovating the home that you move into, so it will be so much more than just a roof and four walls to you. The best way in is to come and be a part of what the Handcrafted community is doing, to begin with.
Do Handcrafted trainees follow a set course?
We do a range of activities. Training fits around you and what you want to achieve. On your first day you will have an induction and we will discuss with you what you want to do.
In woodworking, for instance, you will start with simple project, such as a chopping board or bird box, which gives you an opportunity to learn how to use the machinery and start building your skills. After that, you are free to work at your own pace under supervision on projects that interest you, learning new skills as you go along.
You say that you are a Christian organisation. What does this mean?
Handcrafted was born out of a desire to see isolated people connected and those who had lost confidence in themselves reconnect with a future that had possibilities. It was founded by Dan Northover who, as a Christian was frustrated that while his faith had a hopeful perspective, people had given up hope for many of those who needed it most.
Being a Christian organisation means that we operate out of values of love, restoration and community: Every human is of equal worth, the past is forgiven, and we are better off together than alone. It is part of our Christian outlook that insists we are not here to discriminate between individuals, whether they have any particular faith or no faith, and we are not here to persuade or pressure anyone to change their personal convictions.
Describing how this looks from our trainees’ point of view, Tom said:
“I 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.” (You can read more of Tom’s story on our blog)
Where can I buy handcrafted products?
We offer a range of products for sale at our Spring and Winter Fayres and other events through the year, announced on our Facebook page.
Throughout the year, we are open to taking on commissions. To date, we have made custom orders of almost anything that can be created with wood, including market carts, planters, benches, bowls, shelving units, storage boxes and kitchen utensils. All can be made to measure for a fair price, according to your specification. Email us at email@example.com and tell us what you need.