Specialist care facility seeking donations for “invaluable” in-house carpentry project

A specialist care facility in Scotland is seeking donations of timber for a unique in-house carpentry project that not only develops skills but produces luxury handcrafted items.

The carpentry workshop, opened five years ago at ASC in Balbeggie, Perthshire, is an “invaluable” asset for service users and residents at the facility, which caters to adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.

So far, the workshop has been producing items for sale and donation to private individuals and also the 25 care homes run by Balhousie Care Group, which ASC is part of. And as the workshop gets busy in the run-up to Christmas, it is in need of more timber.

Heading up the ASC workshop is Bob Foulds, a former care worker at the facility, who developed it from scratch in a former shed. Running the workshop is now a full-time job for Bob, a retired RAF aeronautical engineer with a love of carpentry.

Bob said: “It’s a win-win for us at ASC because it’s a place where our service users can learn carpentry skills but also life skills, and it’s a safe, relaxing place for them. It operates similar to a Men’s Shed. They can have a laugh, come in for a cup of tea and a chat. It really relaxes them. And at the same time we’re producing beautiful one-of-a-kind items for our sister care facilities.”

Robin Wallace, Operations Manager for ASC, said: “The ASC workshop is an invaluable asset for so many reasons. It is teaching our service users important life lessons and skills and promoting independence, which is what ASC is all about.”

The workshop has just completed its second wheelchair-accessible wooden table for Balhousie Rumbling Bridge care home in Perthshire. Other items include chopping boards and candlesticks. Service users have already started work on Christmas decorations, including mini Christmas trees and wooden tree ornaments.

Bob added: “There’s strong demand for our items, among the care homes and from individuals, through word of mouth – so much so that we’re running out of wood! We’d love to expand and fill orders from the general public, although I’m aware that the needs of the service users come first. I’m conscious of keeping order numbers small for that reason.”

If you would like to donate timber or talk to the facility about an order call 01821 650690 or email donna.martin@asc-living.co.uk

Pictured: Bob Foulds (at right) and a service user at the ASC workshop in Balbeggie, Perthshire; a selection of handcrafted items produced by the facility’s service users, including Christmas gifts.