Charlie is one of my students and has ABI ( Acquired Brain Injury) which affects his vision, his memory, his physical strength and mobility, he also tires easily. This short video shows him making a shavehorse, a couple of hours a week over several weeks.
Anne Buttenshaw taught special needs student for 25 years at Exeter college and set up the 'Skills for Living ' Course which the college still runs.
"Charlie, a young man with Down's syndrome and autism, benefitted greatly from a total change of learning environment. Being outside and in a mainstream, masculine environment. wearing work clothes and steel-toecap boots, drinking coffee from his own flask, without anyone fussing over him. He enjoyed working with wood, learning to use tools independently, for example a brace and bit, with a bit of help...
The group was very mixed, both in age and ability. Some students, like Charlie, went with an enabler, others were independent. There were opportunities to create a wide range of items. Charlie made a large seat in the shape of a donkey, which many of the others sat on, a dog, snail, centipede, spider and some lovely wooden flowers. He brought these home with such great pride, I have never seen him smile so broadly. He walks a little taller now. I have also noticed that he really wants to do things by himself now, and that he will initiate activities a little more.
Since going on the course, his voice is louder. It is a man's voice. He gets himself in and out of the car, including seat belt, with no fuss or prompting. He seems to be more hopeful and willing to try new things.
It is hard to pinpoint any one particular thing which has prompted this change in Charlie's behavior, but the total experience of green woodwork, and the calm guidance and support of his tutor, Phil, have made a difference to Charlie's life"
"Phil worked at Duchy College for 10 years, In this time he worked with a range of people of differing abilities and ages and has always given them a sense of pride in their achievements. His work was always to a high standard and proved to be a valuable lecturer and skilled craftsperson.
Phil previously worked alongside community groups with the Silvanus Trust. One of his roles as Tree-claim project officer was to set up a workshop to recycle waste wood, by teaching individuals to make a range of furniture and craft items. This work was then sold at a number of outlets including the Eden project and Duchy Nursery.
As part of Duchy College he was approached and asked to set up a green woodworking course at Dame Hannah Rogers at Seale Hayne. The course not only taught greenwood craft, but also helped to develop entrepreneurial attitudes, business management skills and sustainable woodland management. During his time at both the Silvanus Trust and Duchy College, he developed close links with The Woodland Trust, The National Trust, Cornwall County Council, Cormac and Duchy Woodlands.
Phil is a trustworthy and reliable person who is able to instill these attributes to other people, he has a wide range of skills in estate management and is a highly skilled practitioner in his teaching in both practical and academic areas. I wish him every success in his new social enterprise Greenwood Music"