When J first came with his support worker to talk to us about the learning opportunities we offer he was living in a residential hospital due to a breakdown. He was very, very quiet, withdrawn and needed his self-esteem boosted. He chose the bike workshop and started in November 2010.
To begin with his attendance was very patchy and he needed to be escorted but with some patience and gentle encouragement his attendance improved and as it improved so did his self-belief. He started to settle into his tasks and interact with his fellow learners, support staff and tutor.
Over time J’s confidence has grown and grown helping him engage with others and feel part of the group, not only that he now travels independently, he’s moved out of the residential hospital and back home to his wife (over 30 miles away). All of these positives started once he visited RAF Cosford without his carer, a day he really enjoyed, a day he made many friends and a day that marked the start of this amazing journey.
Today, he’s a valued member of the team; he can be left to work on his own, he’ll happily assist his less able colleagues and understands the importance of safety and working in an appropriate manner.
His long term goal is to return to full time paid work, a goal he continually makes great strides towards.
Ms X joined our Woodwork Workshop in September 2010 – from our initial assessment we could see that she has a learning difficulty and would benefit from some help with her reading and maths. Being shy and keeping herself to herself we knew she would be a little apprehensive and require help settling in.
She has worked exceedingly hard and we are so proud of what she has achieved. The practical nature of the woodwork workshop has worked well for her, helping her to improve her reading and writing as well as giving her a good grasp of basic maths. She can now add and subtract, convert millimetres to centimetres, read and understand written instructions and write about the projects she has worked on.
The open friendly environment has encouraged her to work with other students, support staff and tutors. This has led to greater confidence and self-belief – it’s so good to see her walk around with her head up rather than staring at the floor.
The shyness has gone and she’ll happily talk to most people – in fact she’s a great asset when we have visitors as she’ll happily tell them about what she is doing and has done!
On a practical front Ms X has learnt how to make bird table, bird boxes, garden trugs, hedgehog boxes and insect hotels. She has completed woodwork tests on joints, the correct tools to use and safety procedures. Once a month she is tasked (and does so to the best of her ability) to give a health and safety talk, lead a Q & A session to her fellow peers regarding signs and symbols etc…
This shy and apprehensive young woman is now a class mentor for the whole group. She helps others to get things ready for painting, writing and preparing the workshop. She helps others to read, cut things out and will scribe things for them. She is always volunteering to help those sat near her (if asked).
It’s been a wonderful journey where she has worked so hard and been so determined, her smile lights up her face and she’s always willing to help and never misses a session.