Hft | News | Local woodworker extends support to Armed Forces veterans

2023-11-10 10:07:04

Local woodworker extends support to Armed Forces veterans

A young amateur woodworker from Flintshire has harnessed his craft to call for better mental health support for veterans and honour the fallen this Armistice Day.

In honour of Remembrance Day, Aaron has created a beautiful wooden sign with the thought-provoking phrase, ‘Lest We Forget’, using tools bought for him by his beloved grandfather who is a wood artist.

Aaron in a workshop holding the wooden sign that reads 'lest we forget'.

Aaron’s grandfather first taught him the skills of his trade, such as chiselling shapes using wood lathes, and making pens and candle-holders by wood turning, when he was just 10 years old.

A few years on, Aaron has perfected his skills and has now completed his wood art project while attending Growing Places in Deeside – a community-based workshop promoting wellbeing and sustainability run by Hft, a charity that supports learning disabled adults to live their life, their way.

The sign took Aaron about a week and a half to make, hand-drawing the design onto the wood, burning on the letters, precisely chiselling around them, and rubbing the finished sign “to make it look more rustic.”

Aaron sat down burning the letters onto the wooden sign.

Aaron explains the motivation behind the sign:

“I feel that the country is letting down a lot of veterans who are struggling with their mental health. I thought making the sign would make a statement during remembrance times, and so I put it up in the workshop for everyone who visits to see it,” he says.

“I hope the sign triggers good memories for people who have lost loved ones in the war, and helps them to remember those who are becoming forgotten.”

Aaron’s grandfather has been a fantastic support. “He is a great man who is kind and caring and will help out whenever I ask,” says Aaron. “He is a wonderful support and sometimes drops me off (at Growing Places) and picks me up so I don’t miss any days.”

Hft was contracted by Flintshire County Council in summer 2022 to revitalise Growing Places as a space where local people with autism and mental health needs could get involved in a variety of practical workshops to develop new skills.

As with many people who benefit from attending Growing Places, Aaron was introduced to the scheme by his support worker following a referral from his local mental health team. He has now been attending Growing Places for six months and spends most of his weekdays at the workshop.

He says, “I enjoy Growing Places as it is hands on, and I work with a great group of people. The fact that it is a charity is even better, as I feel I am giving back to the community, and it helps my mental health to keep busy.

“With woodwork, I like the fact that you can come up with so many designs, and it is really relaxing for me.”

Angharad Brooks, Employability Coach at Growing Places, adds:

“Aaron is an exceptional young man who has grown in confidence and in technical ability with his wood working skills, producing complex signs. One of which is his ‘lest we forget’ plaque.”

Notes to editors

For further information please phone 0117 906 1697 or email media.enquiries@hft.org.uk

About Hft

Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk