Building furniture and building independence


A passion for building and restoring furniture is helping a man with learning disabilities to build his confidence and independence.

Shaun Watts has built a shoe rack, a table, a stool and a chair so far from reclaimed wood and old pallets, and now wants to build a pair of speaker stands for his bedroom.

The 25-year-old lives in Longden Road, Shrewsbury, a supported living service, which has recently become part of the Regard Group, the country’s fourth largest private provider of care and specialist residential and supported living services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injuries.

Martin Simkin, team leader at Longden Road, said his own work with reclaimed wood sparked Shaun’s interest.

“My personal passion is to recycle and upcycle old furniture. About 18 months ago, I wanted a foot stool for my front room. I saw one for sale for £150, and thought that was too much, and that I could make one for a lot less than that.

“I did some research, and I built one, followed by a unit for recycling bins, a window box, some shelves and a toy box.

“One day I was talking to Shaun, who likes tools, about what I had done, and he seemed very interested, and it went from there.

“Tim, a senior support worker who works with Shaun, arranged to source some pallets and within 24 hours Shaun had built a shoe rack – made without plans or guidance. He did a really great job.

“I then convinced him to make stools, and we built one together before I left him to do one on his own. He copied what we had done together, and built one independently.

“Shaun really focuses on his work, and with staff support he is growing in independence by being given responsibility and gaining freedom through his woodwork, which he is very proud of.”

Shaun was among a number of people who received a welcome hamper recently from Sandie Foxall-Smith, Regard’s CEO, when they formally took over Adelphi Care Services.

Martin said everyone is looking forward to seeing what other wonderful creations Shaun is going to produce in the coming months and watching his independence and confidence grow, with help from the Longden Road team.


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