1. ITV Report

GWK Woodshed social enterprise searching for new home

GWK Woodshed Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

A social enterprise in Gateshead which says it has improved the lives of more than 300 people in the North East is launching an appeal for new premises to avoid closure in September.

The GWK Woodshed launched in 2015 at its current site in Gateshead Central Nursery. It supports people aged 14 to 64 years old, some of whom are long term unemployed or from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them progress into a career or education.

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Groundwork NE & Cumbria, who run the project, say it 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 increase the level of production.

Woodshed workers Credit: ITV News

People attending GWK Woodshed have the opportunity to turn reclaimed wood into bespoke indoor and outdoor furniture.

The products are then sold to individual customers, schools, and businesses, including pubs and restaurants.

We're a victim of our own success. We are really community minded and linked to a lot of people in this area and a lot of people depend on us, with the work that we've been doing with them and we're just looking at basically trying to find a new place for our woodshed to be.

– Nathan Hopkins, GWK Woodshed

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.

The charity says it needs to find a large, public-facing space that can accommodate both a workshop and a shop, in order to carry on creating and selling the furniture, and to continue providing training and support for the people who use GWK Woodshed on a long term basis.

Woodshed workers Credit: ITV News