Northumberland workshop project needs new recruits

Men in the Workshop in Wooler.
Men in the Workshop in Wooler.

A north Northumberland project giving men the chance to share and learn woodwork skills in a social setting needs an injection of fresh blood.

The innovative Men in the Workshop project, based at the Haugh Head Business Park in Wooler, is looking for recruits to safeguard its future.

The project was set up by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) in 2014 with lottery support through the People’s Millions scheme.

Ian Arnold, project manager, said: “We have 17 people on the books at the moment, but they’re not all regulars and the RVS has given us a target of 30 to get up to.”

The group was formed to help prevent isolation, providing a place for men to come learn new skills and reminisce.

The men create items which are being sold to help sustain the project. They can also produce items to order, take in basic joinery and repairs, and supply small timber orders.

“It’s been good,” said Ian. “We feel the service is really beneficial to the Wooler area but we need support to keep it going.”

An open day is being held on Saturday, May 14, so visitors can find out more about the group. There will be craft stalls and demonstrations by a chainsaw carver.

To find out more, contact Ian Arnold on 01361 882539 or email ianmcarnold@gmail.com
Among its successes has been the restoration of tired public benches in the town at the request of the parish council.

And although it was originally set up for older men, it is now opening its doors to the whole community.

“We’ve got a guy here who is 25, but had been suffering from depression and he’s really benefited from it,” said Ian. “We’re going to start taking women in as well.”

Last year, the group received funding from Four Housing to provide the much-needed tools and materials, while funding of £34,000 was awarded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Hitachi donated a number of power tools.