Craft Workshops

The Recovery Cafe offers Craft Workshops. 

The workshops are a place where everyone feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. Our workshops offers its members to share the tools and resources they need to work on projects  at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where people come together to work.

These workshops would not have been possible without the help and support from the Big Lottery Fund. The Right Key/Recovery Cafe and it's members are very grateful and would like to thank everyone involved. 

Sheila Smyth, development officer at the Right Key, said: The new Big Lottery funded project is a way of giving people meaning and hope for the future.

“The people that we work with may be coping with addiction but they also have another side to them. Before their lives went into ashes, many of them would have had good hand skills like cabinet making and joinery, or had an artistic side. They had abandoned  those skills because  their addiction took them to such an awful place. We talked to them about what they wanted to do and they told us that they wanted to be active, and make things with their hands to feel content and worthwhile again.

Sheila said people are finding so much solace in the experiences of others.

“While they are working on all this, there are conversations happening about addiction, recovery and sobriety that are amazing. That’s what it’s about,” she said.

Also Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, said: “I am delighted to announce this grant to The Right Key under the People and Communities programme, which is investing £60 million over the next five years to support voluntary, community and social enterprise groups to work with local people to make the changes they want in their communities.

“We want to fund great projects that work with local people, build on a community’s strengths, and are well connected to other services and activities in the community. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will make to people and communities across Northern Ireland.

“Remember this programme is open for five years so groups have plenty of time to work with local people to develop their project idea. You can call our People and Communities advice line on 0300 123 33 31 at any stage to discuss your idea.”

The People and Communities programme offers grants of between £30,000 and £500,000 for two to five year projects. More information can be found on our website.

Also Richard Kelly who is the Manager of the Workshops said the following: "You've heard the saying "make a silk purse out of a sows ear"?! Well it's a bit like that in the Recovery Cafe Guitar and Craft Workshop! In the workshop on Tuesdays we use only recycled material. Yes believe it or not we are turning old unused furniture and giving it a new life with a little bit of TLC, creativity and woodworking skills. We waste nothing and see the potential in any broken furniture that comes our way!! Those of us who work in the Guitar and Craft workshop are aware of the need to be grateful for everything in life, and so to all we have in each day... the benefit of this is instilling a sense of gratitude. Some people never had much at times especially in active addiction. In recovery nothing is taken for granted and so the same attitude is taken when we see a broken piece of furniture. We always see potential. Often people see nothing but brokenness in active addiction, but in recovery it's very different, the person sees beyond the hurt and sees hope for a better life. Well it's the same when we see a piece of broken wood, we see hope and with a little bit of team work we give it a new life."

Richard also went on to say, "It is a sign of the times where little holds its value anymore. Things are discarded with very little thought. Well in a lot of cases that is the mentality. We see this every day with skips and landfills tipping over with discarded items from our homes; toys, electrical items, furniture etc. The list is endless. Well not at The Recovery Cafe Guitar and Craft Workshop.

Some time back I posted that I was to bring my skills as a visual artist/ master joiner and life coach to The Recovery Cafe Guitar and Craft Workshop. I have been working there for over three years now part time and I can say that it’s been a privilege to be involved with the set up of this project, and we’re now getting to the stage of production. 

Today we started working on a particular project that gives old damaged discarded wood a new life. Some might have seen these pieces as no good, “useless” with a mind set of “throw it away”, one of the participants involved with the project had the good sense to hold onto old mahogany panels purchased some 20 years ago at an auction for a small sum of money. She brought the panels to the workshop and asked “would these be of any use?”... Well today we photographed the panels and now the objective is to bring these panels back to life after nearly 100 years from when they first served their purpose as a wardrobe. 

The thinking behind this project is to peel hack the layers of dirt, grime and old paint, reveal the beauty of the wood that had been hidden for many years. Much like the person in early recovery, they too must peel back the layers of hurt and pain compounded over years and years, the hope is for the person to see the beauty within themselves, beauty that has been hidden from their eyes for many years. In recovery the person sees a new life, a beauty and talent that has been discarded or even unknown up to now. This is why the combination of old discarded furniture, turned into a piece of art, and people in recovery work well together. The beauty behind this is that the person sees the potential in broken wood, but really it’s the potential they see in themselves after years of brokenness that counts.

These panels were brought in their raw form, as they were when they were taken out of a dark damp corner. Watch them coming to life over the coming months. The end product has been designed and the cutting of the panels has begun...

For anyone who would like to donate some unused solid wood furniture or wood, message us and we can arrange a drop off or pick up. Thank you.

The Old Schoolhouse

The Right Key Recovery Café,

Grove Hill Road

Loughbrickland BT32 3NF,

County Down.

The Right Key Recovery Cafe

07949 418 408

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