Published on February 7, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Home required for shed and contents
The race is on to find new premises for a social enterprise that has its furniture items in everyday use at pubs around the region. Groundwork NE & Cumbria has launched an appeal on behalf of GWK Woodshed to avoid its closure in September.
The community project, which started up in 2015 at its current site in Gateshead Central Nursery, supports people aged 14 to 64, some of whom are long-term unemployed or from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them progress into a career or education. It has helped more than 300 people in the region since it opened, producing a vast range of products – picnic benches, tables, chairs, dressers, oak barrel and pallet furniture, planters and raised beds – all constructed from reclaimed timber, some of it dredged from the Tyne. The products are then sold to individual customers, schools, and businesses, including pubs and restaurants such as The Plough at Dipton, County Durham, and The Woodman, Whickham, Gateshead.
The project has proved so successful that the charity is seeking to find more permanent premises in order to accommodate the number of people wishing to participate and to increase the level of production.
GWK Woodshed’s lease at Gateshead Central Nursery comes to an end in September, and if the charity can’t find a suitable premises to move to before then, the project will have to close down. It needs to find a large, public-facing space that can accommodate both a workshop and a display area, in order to carry on creating and selling the furniture, and to continue providing training and support for the people who benefit enormously from the social enterprise.
Geoff Dawson, manager at GWK Woodshed, said: “It will be a real shame if we can no longer continue. This will be devastating. We need to find somewhere that could comfortably house the workshop and the public shop – however as we are a social enterprise, we can’t afford to go to an industrial or retail park.
“We are appealing for someone who is an investor and looking for a new project, an asset transfer, or someone with a large industrial unit, a farm, or another suitable building that’s standing empty, and they’d like to use it for a great cause.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Gateshead Council for providing the current site. Without their support we would not be in the fantastic position we are in, to have a successful and thriving social enterprise.” Details: gwkwoodshed.org.uk or call 0191 460 9508.