A joiner is helping folk carve their way to a brighter future.
Stan May is working with people on probation or who are disabled, in a bid to improve their skills and chances of getting a job.
He is running a series of 12-week training courses at Briardale Community Centre, Blyth.
Both Stan’s appointment and the training programmes have been made possible thanks to £9,800 funding, awarded to Briardale through the Coalfields Community Investment Programme, delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
Stan said: “As someone who is already an active member of the community, I am extremely pleased to join the team at Briardale.
“Many of the people I have been working with have come a long way in the few weeks that they have been involved in the programme. The training sessions are having a positive impact on their skills, confidence and attitudes, which is great to see.”
Providing a waste collection service for businesses, the centre reclaims scrap and used wood and also accepts donations of old furniture.
Stan and his team repaint and reupholster the unwantd items and use the recycled wood to create new pieces of garden furniture and planters to sell in the garden centre.
Centre manager Jean Bell said: “Thanks to the funding from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we are not only able to help more people in the community to develop their skills, but we have also taken on a new role helping to reduce the level of unemployment in the area.”
She added: “The training programme is also allowing us to generate a small income through furniture sales, which is great as we rely heavily on funding to run. We have already sold a number of pieces and secured a contract to make tables and chairs for a new juice bar.
“We cannot thank the Coalfields Regeneration Trust enough for their support and for making this happen.”
The Coalfields Community Investment Programme supports organisations and programmes of activity that meet three key criteria: To address skills, employment or health.
Coalfields Regeneration Trust head of operations (England), Andy Lock, said: “We know that the levels of unemployment and lack of skills are disproportionately high in the coalfields when compared to national averages, and we need to do all we can to address this.
“Organisations like Briardale Community Centre have a really positive impact on coalfield communities and the lives of the people that they engage with which is why we are pleased to offer them our support.”
Briardale Community Centre is one of Northumberland’s leading community facilities. It is set within its own grounds which feature an orchard, allotment, patio, children’s play area, ornamental garden and a large grassed area. It is also responsible for the public five-a-side courts, play park and outdoor gym adjacent to the centre.