A Safe space to reawaken skills and interests and discover new talents.
We spoke with Will, who attends Westmead three days a week about his experiences.
Will has had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for many years. He started attending Westmead, a day service for people with physical disabilities and long term conditions, around 2 years ago. He said,
“The first thing that struck me about Westmead was their approach. Claire Ferguson, Deputy Manager, sat down with me and my wife and asked me what I wanted to do. It was a complete contrast to the place I used to go to. There you were told what to do. At Westmead they treat everyone with respect.”
Will is trained in woodwork and metalwork. When he started at Westmead, he noticed the workshop was poorly equipped. He approached Claire and the Service Manager, Kim Davis, to see if there was a way to make improvements. He started to build items for sale. Creations such as bird boxes, clocks and squirrel tables and would sell them to people who attend Westmead, families, staff and visitors. The money raised was then all reinvested into the workshop space.
Will sourced new tools, including a pillar drill and scroll saw. He also used funds to restock the consumables, such as nails and screws. He has helped maintain the equipment and improve the environment, by renovating some of the old work benches.
Much of the materials Will uses for his projects are donated, which helps keep the costs down, meaning more money can be put back into the workshop. He has even started taking on commissions, producing quality bespoke items, for a much lower price than a shop bought equivalent.
Will said “Westmead has offered me an opportunity to bring back old skills and rebuild my confidence. The management have been very supportive of my ideas. I talk about this place being good therapy.”
Will has also been able to impart his knowledge and skills with the staff team at Westmead. He has provided coaching to support worker John, meaning that John can bring more ideas into his woodworking sessions.
John said “Watching Will working is an education, for example Will showed me how to cut a circle with the use of two types of saws instead using a machine. Will seems to make things simplistic in his approach, he also has a wealth of knowledge. Will’s input has enabled me to share my new skills and knowledge with other customers at Westmead, giving them a better quality session. This in turn makes me feel good about my role.”