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When I first began wood turning, one of the main things I noticed was how engrossed I became whilst I was working with the lathe. It was like the whole world sort of melted away, my troubles with it, and it was just me and the lathe. Admittedly I didn’t think too much on this at the time, but as my hobby expanded and became a business and I began teaching other people how to turn, I started to think about that feeling once more.
I realised that wood turning could be perfect for people with depression and anxiety because of that single mindedness that comes with it. I thought it could be an excellent way to help to build people’s confidence in their own abilities and the fact that at the end of the course the participants got to take something home to their families that they had made with their own hands would help to keep that new found confidence high even after the course had finished.
I knew then that I very much wanted to go down this route and try to help people with depression with a view to reminding them that they do have skills to offer. I applied for, and was awarded, a European Social Fund (ESF) grant which is aimed at getting unemployed people back to work. My particular grant covered anyone aged sixteen to sixty-seven in the Tees Valley area that was out of work and had mental health issues.
The funding I received allowed me to put on several six day courses where I could teach attendees the basics of wood turning and allow them to keep the items they made during the course. This I knew would help would with self-confidence and motivation and I was hopeful it would make a huge difference to the participants.
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