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Josh’s hopes of turning craft into career

Josh’s hopes of turning craft into career

Josh, a young person with a learning disability is hoping to become a self-employed craftsman thanks to help from a Telford & Wrekin Council service.

The My Options Skills and Enterprise Hub supports vulnerable adults and people with learning disabilities giving them the opportunity to develop skills to move into employment.

Josh Stirling, has been volunteering at the hub now for over a year. During that time he found that he enjoyed, and had a talent for, woodwork.

Thanks to the support he has received, Josh is hoping that he can continue to develop his woodwork skills to fulfill his aim of being employed as a full-time craftsman.

Josh said: “Going to the Skills and Enterprise Hub has helped me to get a better understanding of what it’s like in a real workplace environment.

“We have a range of different woodwork tools and equipment at our workshop here at the hub. Using those tools, I’ve learnt to make a range of different items such as bird boxes, benches, display boards and planters.”

The wood work items that Josh makes, and supports others to make, are available to purchase, and some made especially for community groups and charities in the borough.

Josh added: “I have learnt about more than woodwork by going to the Skills and Enterprise Hub. Working with different people here has encouraged me to think about the needs that different people have and what I can do to help them.

“I am really grateful to all the volunteers and people who work here who have supported me to learn about woodworking and given me the opportunity to teach others the skills I have learnt. We’re all one big happy family at the hub.

“Without the Skills and Enterprise Hub I wouldn’t be able to do what I love doing. And I wouldn’t be able to achieve my lifetime goal of becoming a self-employed craftsman.”

When Josh joined the Skills and Enterprise Hub, he was originally living with a carer to help support him as part of the council’s Shared Lives service. Due to the support he has received Josh no longer lives with a carer and has moved into his own home. He also volunteers his time helping other vulnerable adults at the Skills and Enterprise Hub.

Josh’s craftwork and those of other vulnerable adults who use the services of the hub, went on sale at its annual Summer Fair at Telford’s Bridges Business Park on August 4. Other items on offer included beautiful mosaics, jointed bears and other types of rustic goods.

All income generated at the hub is reinvested to buy materials, equipment, and to generally improve the activities and opportunities offered to vulnerable adults by the service.

Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Children’s and Adults Early Help & Support at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “The My Options Skills and Enterprise Hub does a wonderful job supporting some of Telford & Wrekin’s most vulnerable adults.

“The hub gives people a much-needed sense of purpose. You can see how everyone enjoys every minute of what they do at the hub that there is a great community feel here.”

“I would like to thank the volunteers who help support the service and who have helped to put on the summer fair.”

If you think you know someone who could benefit from spending time at the My Options Skills and Enterprise Hub, please visit their website.

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