Jorvik Woodturners help injured troops forge new careers


Jorvik (York) Woodturners have been working alongside the Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick. This specialist centre is run by the charity Help for Heroes and forms part of the Defence Recovery Capability. The project was driven by Help for Heroes volunteer Chris Morgan who runs the recovery centre.


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Interior of new Woodshed

The club has been helping to set up a woodturning shed at Phoenix House. The new workshop will provide a setting where injured troops and veterans can work towards gaining woodworking skills and qualifications which may help them forge new careers. Part of the project involved renovating an old Axminster lathe, one of the machines destined to assist with the rehabilitation of those in the Armed Forces disabled in recent conflicts.

Earlier this year, the club approached Axminster for some spare parts for the lathe and it was then identified by AT&M as being an old M950 which the company had discontinued a few years earlier. Fortunately parts were still available and Axminster donated these to the club enabling them to continue renovating the lathe ready for use.


Reconditioned M950 lathe

The team made rapid progress over the past few months not only with the renovation of the lathe, but also in kitting out the workshop with machinery that had been donated. The hard work and efforts of Chris Morgan and the Jorvik volunteers came to fruition on Wednesday 22 April with the official opening of the ‘Woodshed’. The ceremony was attended by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Turners Colonel John Bridgeman and covered by ITV News Tyne Tees and BBC Look North.

Chris together with three Jorvik volunteers will supervise the workshop. Professional turners including Tony Wilson and Margaret Garrard have also pledged their support to provide assistance with the training.

Such has been the success of the project so far that there is now talk of other ‘Woodsheds’ opening in Colchester and Plymouth as both cities have similar Help for Heroes run recovery centres.