Earlier this year, our supported living service in Banbury, Oxfordshire, started work on their garden workshop project, and now it’s ready just in time for summer!
Luke, Tom, and Chris all live in self-contained flats at our supported living service, which specialises in supporting people with acquired brain injuries.
Earlier this year, support workers Michelle and Glenn came up with the idea to build a workshop in the garden. Support worker Helen had 70 wooden pallets donated by a friend that the team broke down to build the base and walls of the workshop. Another member of staff, Sophie, had garden tools donated by her dad, and deputy manager Julie’s husband Andy donated guttering and a water butt to collect rainwater.
We spoke to deputy manager Julie about the project, she said: “The workshop is designed to offer an alternative space for the people we support to go to do activities, building things or gardening, or even for them to just use as a quiet and calm retreat. Chris and Tom are very hands-on people and they love to build things, and it’s great to be able to create somewhere for them to do that. It will give the people we support an easily accessible space where they can spend as long or as little as they’d like to that’s right on their doorstep.”
Glenn said: “Luke had been to a workshop before, as had Chris, so they had suggested things that they would like to do. Tom was also enthusiastic about working with wood projects and Meccano sets, so the workshop will really be ideal for them all. They have plans to build a remote control car for the garden, as well as a wooden wishing well which Tom suggested visitors use to make a wish on their way in. The guys had a major input into building the workshop and on most days, especially Luke, would say to staff ‘Let’s go to work’ which for me was amazing.”
Julie continued: “The team started building the workshop from scratch and everything is upcycled. All the staff had such great ideas for it and it’s been amazing how everyone’s got stuck in and worked together to create this space. Every part of it has been thought out to get the people we support involved and get hands-on with the building and decorating. Building the workshop has helped to give the people we support a purpose and a focus, and it will continue to now it’s finished as they can use it to make and create things. They have loved getting involved and it’s been great for them to be a part of it and to see the progress of it all coming together over the last few months.
The project has really boosted morale within the team and has been a great way to bring everyone together, especially during the challenging times of losing one of our residents. We sadly lost Justine at the beginning of May. She had been really interested in the workshop project, she enjoyed gardening and arts and crafts, so we have incorporated her memory by hanging some of her artwork on the walls and created a bee-inspired plaque – her favourite animal – with FitzRoy’s values as a tribute to her which is now displayed on the outside of the workshop.
Glenn added: “We’ll enjoy supporting the residents in making things and learning new skills in the workshop. We hope that other FitzRoy services may want to use it too if someone they support is interested in carpentry or learning a new physical skill, and to meet new people and make friends.”
The project has been an amazing demonstration of teamwork, with both staff and residents coming together to bring the workshop to life. It’s been amazing to see everyone pulling together and helping each other out to give the people we support this wonderful space.