Community Workshop at The Chequers Bridge Centre

Funding from Ethical Giving has gone towards the establishment of our community woodworking workshop. Over the past five years we have been slowly transferring an old storage space into a workshop built around the interests of our participants. The space has been taking shape almost at the pace of one tool at a time as more people have joined the project bringing their time, skills or resources to share with others. This funding has allowed us to complete the final push with this project and open the workshop up for wider community use.

This project has slowly been developing in two areas: creating the actual space and then developing the skills of the participants involved. Considerable time and effort has been spent on the physical environment of the workshop to make sure everything is safe, suitable and accessible for use. The storage space started off as a large empty shell. Within that a mezzanine level has been built, heating and dust extraction has been installed and stations designed for the different tools and machinery. Many of our users have disabilities or mobility problems and so careful consideration was taken to ensure it is as accessible as possible. Throughout all this work, our participants have been using the workshop developing their own skills and ensuring key members have relevant health, safety and safeguarding training. We have also been developing links for sources of reclaimed wood.

The broad aims of this project are to bring people in for them to develop their own skills and confidence and to provide a social space for people who may be suffering from isolation or loneliness. These skills and resources would then be offered out to benefit the wider community. Examples of this have been building planters for a library growing project, a giant bee sculpture for King’s Square or installations for a local nature reserve.