The Wood Works project transforms donated furniture into good quality, smart pieces whilst simultaneously giving experience to the long-term unemployed! Workshop manager Stephen Budd who works with trainees on this Genesis Trust project tells us why its so successful!
"There is a welcoming atmosphere in the workshop. People learn new skills, we have an upholstery course, a chair-caning course and we're just about to start making made-to-measure bookcases." Says Stephen.
An experienced furniture designer, Stephen has been with The Wood Works since its inception. "I used to be a 'one man band' furniture designer and I had people come to me who had been out of work for a while - particularly with mental health issues - asking to volunteer with sandpapering and small jobs they could handle.
"As I was on my own I couldn't help. Setting up The Wood Works seemed to be a natural progression. I went to Genesis and they picked up the baton and ran with it!
The project which takes in six trainees at a time opened its workshop doors in January 2005, followed by its shop doors in May 2005. "I took the guys in first so that they could gain valuable experience working on furniture, before we opened the shop."
200 people have benefitted from the project to date, with some definite success stories. "Some have gone to university, got jobs - some have got totally unconnected roles." says Stephen.
Open to the long-term unemployed who have experienced a wide range of issues – including homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction and mental health, the project now runs an evening class; 'The Wood Club' for local school children with learning disabilities. A couple of retired Woodwork teachers help run the project and Stephen is keen to hear from anyone wishing to help run the project.
"Anyone wishing to join the project should just give us a call and we'll show them around the workshop and explain what we do. People are always welcome to come and see the shop."
Based at 1 - 3 James Street West the shop is open Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10am - 5pm.
- Furniture restoration
- us of hand and power tools
- semi-skilled manual work
- materials' handling
- stock control
- van driving skills
- basic understanding of health and safety
- team work
- first aid
- retails skills
- customer service
- Opportunity to take the City and Guilds 6135 Basic Woodworking Course level 1 - which will progress onto the Construction Award in Carpentry and Joinery level 2.
- Upholstery and a hand-painted furniture course
Who is eligible?