DIY workshop for school difficulties in Beccles

11:22 am 16 March 2022

“Attending an arts and crafts workshop is so much more than a creative hobby – it can have many benefits, from improving mental health to developing social skills,” says Emma Langdale, director of Waveney Enterprises in Beccles.

Housed in a Grade II listed building in the town centre, Waveney Enterprises is a non-profit day center offering craft workshops for adults with mild to moderate learning difficulties and mental health needs.

Here, Emma shares some of the benefits of joining their craft groups, including the positive effect it can have on social and mental well-being.

1. Learn new creative skills

Waveney Enterprises has a charity shop at the front of the property where they sell handcrafted items made by service users
– Credit: Waveney Enterprises

Using a person-centered approach, the team at Waveney Enterprises is dedicated to helping adults develop new skills and take pride in the crafts they make through independent learning and supportive mentorship.

“Activities include painting, printing, clay working, card making, knitting, sewing and carpentry, mostly using materials donated by the local community,” Emma explains. “We welcome all people of all crafting abilities to participate in our activities and always encourage independent learning to enhance self-efficacy.”

The team running the workshop have experience in arts and crafts as well as teaching special educational needs (SEN) and are there to help service users develop their skills while learning. ensuring that the work is of high quality. Most of the handcrafted items are sold in the shop at the front of the property, with proceeds going to charity to support the activities.

2. It develops social skills

Building camaraderie is especially important for people who might otherwise be isolated at home or less likely to participate in leisure activities with their peers. “Our unique service provides a friendly, safe and fun environment for like-minded people to come and enjoy the social aspect of the workshop while crafting,” says Emma.

Emma tells us how many service users are encouraged to develop their interpersonal skills while working in the charity shop. “In addition to helping build confidence and independence, the customer service skills they learn can sometimes lead to other jobs or volunteer placements in other retail environments” , she says.

3. It improves health and well-being

Mental health issues affect many people in society, including people with learning or developmental disabilities who may also struggle to get the support they need. By providing a supportive, caring and person-centered environment, the craft workshop aims to improve self-esteem and overall well-being.

“Spending a day or even a few hours in our workshop can do wonders for mental health,” says Emma. “The workshops are in a beautiful Grade II listed building, with a secret garden and outbuildings, providing a quiet and relaxing environment suited to everyone’s individual needs.”

4. It creates a sense of community

Service user making arts and crafts at Waveney Enterprises craft workshop in Beccles, Suffolk

The Waveney Enterprises craft workshop provides a friendly, safe and fun environment for adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and mental health needs
– Credit: Waveney Enterprises

A big part of Emma and the team at Waveney Enterprises’ job is to help people lead independent lives wherever possible and ensure they stay at the heart of the community.

“The Craft Shop is like a second home for many of our service users and we’re like a close-knit family,” says Emma. “Our staff members are aware of each other’s personal circumstances and throughout the pandemic we have carried out regular wellness checks and provided home craft packs to maintain that sense of community.

“We also have links with local charities and agencies and are happy to reach out and help organize other internships and work,” she adds.

5. It provides support to loved ones and caregivers

In addition to benefiting those attending the workshop, the drop-in center provides much-needed respite for parents and caregivers. “Many of the people who use our service are cared for by aging parents, so a lot of what we do is to provide respite during the day while helping with their progression,” says Emma.

“We can also liaise with other social workers if parents or guardians have concerns about additional health needs, and point them in the right direction where they can get the support they need.”

Waveney Enterprises offers internships in their craft workshop for one to five days from 9am to 3pm. They are also looking for two new directors to join the board. To find out about free discovery days or to become an administrator, call 01502 716065 or email [email protected] to find out more.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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