A group of green woodworkers from Somerset have been sharing their expertise with wounded Veterans.
Polelathe Turners & Greenwood Workers – known as Bodgers – have been working with Help for Heroes to introduce those supported by the charity to their craft at their workshop in Tyntesfield House.
The Bodgers have been active in Somerset for the past four years turning discarded timber into bespoke furniture and décor. Dick, and colleague Mel, have been donating a percentage of profits to Help for Heroes for three years and have now extended that support by engaging with wounded, injured and sick forces Veterans.
Mel said: “We are committed to the organisation; it’s something we can do to give back. We raise money through sales and courses, but sometimes instead of charging for the courses we ask participants to make a donation to Help for Heroes, either through us or directly.”
Fundraising isn’t the only way woodworking is helping Veterans; the mental health benefits are instrumental for recovery. “People can lose themselves in woodworking,” added Mel. “It calms you, gets you focused, and when you make something for yourself, it improves self-esteem and confidence, as well as gaining the physical skills.”
Former Royal Navy Able Seaman, Debby, has seen her confidence, which she has struggled with since being injured, increase massively. She said: “I have this bad habit of going into things thinking that maybe I won’t be able to do it, or I won’t be very good, and that’s how I was when we first started the woodworking, but that’s not the case anymore. It gives me so much confidence to be able to look back and say ‘I made that’. I have definitely pleasantly surprised myself.
“I’ve struggled in the past with putting myself out there and meeting new people for the first time. The time we spend woodworking in Somerset has just been so brilliant for me in that respect, it gives me the chance to meet people and talk to them in a calm, unintimidating environment. I get better and more confident every time, and it feels brilliant.”
The Bodgers recognise this sense of accomplishment. Dick commented: “If you’re in a bad place, then you sit down on a chair that you’ve made yourself, and there’s a certain sort of pride you feel. We just like knowing that what we’re doing can be therapeutic and help people. There’s a friendship and comradeship between the people that come and a lot of them find it very helpful.
“We have the time, the skills and the resources, and we support Help for Heroes and what they’re doing, that’s we why offer this. We just try to help as much as we can.”