Positive Pathways awardee, Veterans’ Woodcraft CIC, were awarded £70,000 over two years for their ‘Woodworking Warriors’ project, which tackles the mental health and wellbeing of veterans in the North East.

This new funding will allow the group to open its workshops to many more veterans, enabling them to access new skills and, importantly, to make new and lasting friendships and connect with like-minded people.

“Absolute ninjas in all things wood”

Les, a veteran accessing the project, shares his positive experience with the project: “Quite simply – this place is paradise disguised as a workshop. The guys are both helpful and fun to be with… absolute ninjas with all things wood. This is the best therapy I have ever had. If you have the opportunity to meet these guys and do some work with them, take it. you won’t regret it.”

The group runs three sessions a week, and activities include wood turning, pyrography, cabinet making and CNC work – which brings new skills in software and allows those not comfortable using hand or power tools to still get involved.

“Purpose, friendship and a sense of belonging”

Veteran, Richard, who was involved in the group in 2019, talks about the difference it’s made to him: “At the end of the day you go home feeling really worthwhile, you’ve made something astonishing, made great friendships and made yourself feel a whole lot better about yourself. You also can’t wait to get back the next day for another go! [Veterans’ Woodcraft] give a person purpose, friendship, a sense of belonging, and finally being able to look forward to tomorrow and not dread it.”

Those involved are encouraged to try as many of the activities on offer as they can, and this two-year funding means a longer-term programme can be offered that allows veterans to develop their skills much further.

The group is now building links with other organisations to provide further outlets for their work.

Find out more

Find out more about the difference this project is making to those taking part. Visit their website www.veteranswoodcraft.co.uk

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