Woodworking at the Chequers Workshop

Two young people in our workshop. One is sat down and watching as the other uses a mallet and chisel to chip away at some wood.

The Gloucester woodworking project has been running since 2016 at Chequers Bridge Centre. We took over the old storage shed in the back and bit by bit we have converted it into a fully equipped workshop. Most of the equipment was donated by different groups and individuals in the community. A lot of time and energy was spent setting up which was led by Jon, our skilled and experienced participant who has now been employed as the Project Lead. Now we have groups using the workshop most days of the week.

Jon has been running sessions where people can come along and learn basic woodwork skills. Sometimes they work on their own small projects, such as carving bowls or making boxes. Other times they work together to build larger projects. These could be things for other community projects such as benches for the café on Robinswood Hill. Participants have the opportunity to learn at their own pace. We have now also been joined by another charity – Network Crafts who also use the workshop and teach people mainly how to do wood turning.

The woodworking project also fits in perfectly with some of the youth work we have been doing. This is sometimes just offering a young person a new type of experience or providing a larger group project for a whole class of school children. For example, Gloucester Academy wanted a group of their pupils to have a day out working in the community. With Jon’s experience we had the group building a new horse shelter for the City Farm. They all happily took part and really enjoyed themselves. For many of them it was their first introduction to the world of volunteering.

Over the past year our workshop has been focusing on accepting commissions from a variety of sources, including Gloucestershire Gateway Trust. One of their commissions was a larger version of the bee we made for Gloucester town center. It’s one of the biggest projects our workshop’s undertaken and we’re looking forward to sharing the finished results.

Our group has also seen many new faces join and with them bring a range of new skills, like incorporating resin into designs.

Jon is there every Monday, Tuesday and Friday 11am-4pm. Anyone can come and take part whatever ability and skill level you are at. Come and learn, or come and share your wealth of experience.