The Bournemouth-based Stainless Steel and Aluminium supplier has generously donated stainless steel sheets to the not-for-profit organisation, Dorset Community Workshop. The kind donation was a response to the organisation founder’s appeal on social media for suitable material for resurfacing old workstations.
Dorset Community Workshop is a multi-skill workshop aimed at providing the local community with a safe place to learn and develop practical skills, such as car bodywork and mechanics, metalworks and woodworks, crafts, and pottery. The organisation was founded by Bournemouth-man Stuart Miles, who after learning that he will not be able to have children wanted to focus his efforts on building a welcoming and supportive community. Stuart explains how the devastating news led him to the setting up the not-for-profit organisation:
“I found myself becoming unattached to the tools and equipment I had spent my life investing in and began to think of how I could share what I have with others who would appreciate it. My desire to want to help those who have mental health struggles comes from my own long battle to overcome PTSD. Through my understanding and empathy of such struggles, I hope to help others who may be going through the same thing as I did.”
With over 20 years of experience, Stuart has acquired many skills within the construction trade. From starting out as an estimator and draughtsman, Stuart used his time in the construction industry to develop a wide range of skills. The decision to focus his efforts into a workshop was made after realising nothing similar exists in Dorset for individuals who need support, safeguarding or a safe place to be while they struggle with painful life experiences. Through the organisation, Stuart hopes to support those seeking to retrain and learn new skills as part of a rehabilitation or a change in career.
The organisation will cater to the local community with an emphasis on being a safe place for all. The Community Workshop consists of 5 self-contained workspaces available for rent by the hour or day, when not in use by our supportive or charitable activities. When asked about the importance of being a recognised safe place for all, Stuart explained:
“We want everyone who comes to Dorset Community Workshop to feel comfortable, welcome and at ease knowing that you are in a friendly supportive environment. Our primary aim is to provide special support to all groups helping people with mental health recovery, disabilities, stabilised addiction recovery, homeless and back-to-work training, in partnership with Community Employment Services, Dorset Mind, Faithworks Wessex and others who have service users that could benefit from our facilities.”
The Workshop began to take shape in October 2017, when Stuart received the keys to an old run-down garage. With the help of friends, family and volunteers, Stuart has begun transforming the rundown building into a clean, modern and friendly environment for its visitors
While considerable progress has been made, the project still has a way to go before it’s ready for public use. Most of the Workshop’s funding comes directly from Stuart’s pocket, in which he’s even had to sell classic car parts and other personal possessions to cover the costs of rent and building materials. The project has received a lot of support from both its local community and national businesses, including donations from DeVilbiss and Encon. The most recent donation has been from ABCD Plastering who volunteered to plaster the ceiling of the spray room.
Ferrari Stainless & Alloys cut five 2m x 1m sheets of stainless steel to various sizes, which have been used to provide suitable work surfaces in the engineering room, the spray-booth and the four-post car lift room. Upon hearing the news of what the material has been used for, Ferrari Stainless General Manager, Jamie Earley said:
“It’s great to be able to put something back into the local community -especially to a cause as worthy as this. Having a family member with mental health issues makes this a cause close to my heart and as soon as Stuart approached me, I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”
After learning more about the project and the organisation’s requirements, Jamie arranged for 5 sheets of brightly annealed stainless steel to be cut into various sizes and delivered to the Dorset Community Workshop.
To financially support the Workshop, members of the public have set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of Stuart and the Dorset Community Workshop team. The team aims to raise £5,000 to provide the not-for-profit organisation with the finances to cover the cost of rent and building supplies necessary to get the Workshop open for business. In exchange, Stuart Miles has promised to “personally fund the use of the Workshop for up to five charities and community organisations for two months, including material costs, consumables and operating costs.”
For more information about the Dorset Community Workshop and to see learn more about the great effort Stuart and his team of volunteers have put in, visit the Dorset Community Workshop Facebook page.
To donate, submit a pledge to their GoFundMe page or contact founder Stuart Miles on 07517 626 540.