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.”

He was surprised to find that woodworking did him good and was struck by an immediate sense of belonging.

There were people there who were experiencing similar sorts of troubles to my own There was a sort of acceptance. I developed my skills, and I got to like working here.

“With it being a supportive environment, it was less stressful than a proper job, which I couldn’t do because I suffer from bipolar disorder. I was able to grow and enjoy the work and, because I was enjoying it, I was producing good stuff. It was nice to be around people and to be a help, to be there for others as well.”

“The benefits of Handcrafted are amazing. It provides a structure to your week. It’s helped with my marriage – the fact that I’m not under my wife’s feet 24/7 has helped our relationship.”

Ian at work

“I have a structure for my day. It’s lovely to get up at 7am in the morning and have something to look forward to for the day. I’ve spent many a year not having that – not getting out of my bed until 11 am every day and not really having much to look forward to. It’s nice to have that structure. It’s good to have a time to get up and to be ready to go to bed at 11:30 and sleep well because of having that structure.”

Ian also got a place to live in one of our recently renovated houses, and the skills he had picked up in the workshop were handy when it came to fixing the place up and furnishing it. He may have come to us hoping for a place to live, but when we asked Ian to tell us the best thing about coming to Handcrafted, he mentions something else:

“Satisfaction – the fact that I can produce things I didn’t think I’d be able to produce. The wardrobe was my biggest project. It took about a month until it was perfect. My wife is over the moon with it, as I am too. It was nice to involve others in helping me too – with painting and nail-gunning, to help them feel important too, and that’s what they are – important.”

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