Who We Are
Woodside Crafts is supported by a wide range of people of all ages in many roles. Our directors are Martin Marston and Chris George.
Martin works at all stages of the process from sourcing materials, taking orders, making the products, right through to selling them in the shop. Martin also enjoys running woodwork workshops. Martin is a dab hand at all sorts of D.I.Y. and gardening, and his favourite singer is Catherine Jenkins.
Chris had the original vision for Woodside Crafts. She manages the shop three days a week, is the charity secretary, does fundraising, and runs flower art workshops. Chris enjoys arts and crafts and gardening and has been known to do a bit of amateur dramatics and get everyone around her up on stage with her! Her favourite colour is purple - In case you couldn't tell from looking at the website and the shop!
The objective of the company is to assist in the treatment and care of people suffering from mental health issues. We help people in need of rehabilitation by providing facilities for work and recreation. We also provide opportunities to increase skills, confidence and empowerment.
Woodside Crafts is also established to raise public awareness and improve understanding of mental health, reducing stigma and discrimination.
We use our creative minds and energy to produce unique products that will enhance the look of any home or garden.
Woodside Crafts was an initiative idea which originally developed from Woodside Day Centre. The founding members were Chris George, a member of staff, Martin Marston a service user then later volunteer, and Paul Morgan, the woodwork tutor.
We originally started making wooden products in group workshops at the centre and began realizing that people were interested in purchasing the goods. We also recognized the increasing confidence and empowerment of those service users making the goods.
Within the transformation in benefits and services, some service users were assessed suitable for employment. However with lack of experience, loss of self-belief and confidence, and loss of employable skills, we found there was a gap in services supporting people returning to employment after a long absence. We believed that we could help fill this gap.
Our idea began to develop. We started running workshops from Dudley voluntary services - learning about social enterprises, forming a committee and applying for funds.
We started doing some fund raising activities to purchase tools and our insurance.
We were successful in being awarded a seed corn fund from the Community Innovations Enterprise, which allowed us to purchase some tools and further our plans of having our own shop.
Woodside Crafts became a registered company in September 2012. The directors then joined Synergy which was a local business support group. From an initial membership of 8 we increased membership to over 50 members.
We then started to develop our plans of leasing a local shop. In September 2013 we began negotiation with the council and began leasing 36 King Street, Dudley. For three weeks the members worked hard – day and night - decorating and renovating the premises. On November 2nd we officially opened our shop. A fantastic achievement for us all!
Woodside Crafts now run a variety of workshops throughout the week including; woodwork, pyrography, arts & crafts and flower art. Products that are made during these sessions are then sold in the shop and at Craft Fairs and events around the Midlands.
By engaging in the business side of Woodside Crafts, our members can also develop abilities that could potentially be applicable in future employment opportunities such as administrative, organisation, communication and sales skills.
In October 2016, Woodside Crafts officially achieved charity status and continues to strive within the community.
Woodside Crafts continues to work alongside and through the support of our many sponsors: Coventry Building Society Merry Hill, Lloyds Bank Penkirdge, Asda Brierley Hill and Woodside Day Centre.
Our Future Plans
To increase our membership especially in the wider community.
Continue with presentations to local companies and service providers, to help dispel myths about mental health.
Acquire further funding for our own larger workshop.
To continue supporting the New Heritage Regeneration.