attendees working on woodwork in the community workshop

The Fair Shares Woodwork Workshop

At Chequers Bridge in Gloucester an old storage shed has been renovated into a fully-equipped community woodworking workshop! The Fair Shares woodworking workshop is being used by community groups throughout the week – sometimes working on personal creative projects and at other times working on bigger community projects for local events and organisations.

We caught up with Reyaz, a time-broker and project coordinator for the workshop and asked him how it came about, why it is an important community asset, and their plans for the future.

Watch the video below:

Reyaz: So my name’s Reyaz, I am a timebroker for Fair Shares, and I guess I’ve been overseeing the project for 7 years now. John came to us as a participant and John had woodworking skills and collectively we looked to see how we could develop that, and bit by bit we developed a small little community woodworking project to the point where we are today, where we have a workshop and a large-scale project going on.

For me, everything we try to do, we try to create an environment where people can get involved with something, you know? It’s about creating a community space where people can come, belong, feel comfortable, and then see what happens. Some people come here purely for social reasons. Other people come here to learn a very specific skill. Other people come here for therapeutic reasons. So loads of people use it for different reasons and I don’t really care why people use it, for me it’s just about how do we create a space where people are welcome, and how does this space play a bigger role in the wider community.

So we don’t want this to be an isolated project, it’s about how does this fit in with what else is going on. There’s no requirements as to skill level. If you’ve never picked up a hammer before, come along and see what people are doing. And even if you just want to come along and sit in the corner, make tea and talk to people, that’s fine with us as well. We received the Community Space fund to help finish off the workshop. So as we were developing we were coming across needs and Barnwood managed to come along at the right time to say right, actually here we go, now we can finish the project off to the point where we’re ready to move forward now.

Sue: We’re very fortunate that we have a lot of very dedicated people who are part of the group, who give a lot of their time, their effort, and you know bring their skills into it. What we want to do is to make it a real community space, to bring local people in, and to really develop it as a kind of multi-use woodwork shop. So invite all your friends and people to come along, help us to make it a big success.

Reyaz: I think it’s important to have a person connection with what you’re doing. So I think that’s really important. And bring people along who will give themselves, and just let things happen. I’m a firm believer that do something and stuff will happen. And that’s what I kind of live by. Just do something, anything, and bring people along with you.

The Community Spaces Capital Grant is to help support communities or organisations that would like to develop inclusive community spaces: places where everyone is welcome to meet and do things together. ‘Everyone is welcome’ means that particular attention is given to helping people who are usually marginalised to feel that they belong in the community; for example, those with disabilities and mental health problems.

To learn more about the Community Spaces Capital Grant – visit this page