Some clients enjoy learning new practical skills without necessarily looking for an artistic or creative dimension – it is the experience of learning new skills and making something useful which engages their interest.
Under the guidance of a skilled craftsman, clients begin this course by selecting a wreck of a bike that was destined for land-fill. They learn how to strip the bike down and replace all of the parts that need renewing – brake cables, chain and gears, truing the wheels, re-spraying the paintwork. On completion, the client has a safe, working bike which they can keep for good, providing them with a healthy and free mode of transport. This is great for encouraging regular physical activity which itself alleviates depression and anxiety and offers an outlet for excess energy.
Some of our clients have never successfully managed a home of their own before. In treatment, they share responsibility for cooking for their housemates and for some this can be a real challenge. As well as getting support from their housemates to develop their skills, we offer a weekly kitchen workshop with a cookery tutor to learn to cook some healthy, economic meals and to fill the STAR Centre with tantalising aromas whilst they are at it! Thai chicken curry seems to be the most popular item on the menu, but vegetarian and sweet options are also included. Clients often comment on the sense of achievement they feel when they master a really tasty recipe for the first time.
Our woodwork tutor, Chris, has been with us since we started our ETE programme, and he has a deep understanding of the process that clients experience throughout the treatment programme. He is sensitive to their need for support and encouragement, and very aware of how self-confidence and esteem can grow as clients successfully master complex tasks. Chris helps clients learn the safe use of a range of power tools, and the stages involved in planning a project.
Chris has a great track record in supporting even the most ambitious projects and has helped clients to complete items ranging from nesting boxes and bird feeders up to a chest of drawers or a 16-foot canoe! He believes strongly that working intimately with wood, an organic natural material, has a strong healing effect for clients. The discipline and responsibility of using complex machinery also helps clients to develop a range of important personal skills.