I joined the Men’s Shed in 2022 – I came along looking to learn some more skills but also for the social experience, having people to talk to is important. I have different craft skills including leather working by background, but I particularly wanted more woodworking skills. I was aware of Norwich Men’s Shed through my emploment, and it seemed like a good opportunity to learn and meet people at the same time. I was not getting out enough, a sign of the times. And this was an opportunity to get out and meet people in a working context which seemed like a really good idea.
I do leatherworking as a hobby – along with taking part in historical re-enactments, and live action role plays, making armour for that was where I started out with leatherwork. I like Celtic knotwork designs which translate well to leather work.
I am from Kent, brought up in Lincolnshire and came to study at UEA and loved Norwich so much I never really left. My job now is as a psychological well-being practitioner, a CBT therapist. I have a diploma in cognitive behavioural interventions. I have not always done this work. Prior to that I managed hostels for homeless people within Norwich. There were times when it was enormously stressful, more than one crisis happening at any one time.
At the Men’s Shed people have been incredibly helpful from the outset. My level of skills was sort of DIY, putting up a shelf sort of thing. The first lesson in the shed was about how to hold the wood – the most important part of starting with wood. In future I would like to learn more complicated woodworking and joinery and I know there are lots of fellow makers around who can help teach me. I look forward to doing more with the Men’s Shed and maybe sharing my leather working skills with others too.