During the last year at the Rainbow Centre we have worked in partnership with Barnet Council to provide work for young offenders as part of their reparation. We have run several short projects which have included a number of different tasks, all of which have been very hands-on.
The works undertaken so far have included painting and decorating, basic carpentry skills and even laying a new patio. These projects have been very successful and the young people who have attended have become very involved with the work in hand.
Interest has also been shown by young people in the surrounding area who are under no obligation to attend, when we have tools out and people getting on with various tasks, they are very keen to join in.
This interest by local young people to get involved with these tasks of a manual nature lead us to further develop activities we have on offer at the Rainbow Centre. During the autumn we ran a week long course in conjunction with “The Construction Bus”, a lot of ground was covered. The week began with an introduction to basic electrics and finished up with the young people involved constructing two benches which are now in permanent use outside the centre.
Taking into account, young offenders who visit the Rainbow Centre to carry out their reparation work. Young people who live locally, are studying but have spare time in the evenings and the NEET, there is a considerable demand for the facility we propose starting.
As we continue our work in partnership with the Boroughs’ Youth Offending Team we are looking to build on the solid foundations of what we are already able to deliver.
In the next few months we plan to open a small functioning workshop on the grounds at the Rainbow Centre.
This workshop will be accessible to different groups of users, for differing projects delivered in the most suitable manner for the attending user.
The type of work we will undertake will be varied, though generally constructed of wood, from planters made of decking through to picture frames and the like. It is our plan that we will hold a stock of materials and tools which will increase over time as we undertake more projects. We will function mainly with hand tools though some battery powered tools will be necessary.
Early discussion suggests we will be able to produce items for other community projects and become a resource to others. Longer term we plan to take on private commission work with any profit being used to further fund the project.
We are looking at erecting a reasonably sized metal shed adjacent to the existing building which will serve as storage and the base for where works can be carried out. When we are working we will use a large pop up gazebo to work under which will be stored inside the container while not in use.
Long term we envisage “The Workshop” as a base for many related projects. If we, as much as is possible, aim to tool correctly from the outset we will be able to promote the multi-function of the project. In real terms, we expect basic wood work, bike and scooter maintenance and furniture repair to become the key project strands.
This project is moving fast… We should be up and functioning really soon.