Not for Profit

Wood you believe it! Caring business donates 240 ready meals worth £1,200 to carpenters workshop

COOK team members Michael and Anne at the Westbourne store which has donated 240 of its ready meals.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: May 15, 2023 | Updated: 16th May 2023

A big-hearted business has donated 240 of its ready meals to a project supporting people who are overcoming barriers in their lives.

The kind gesture, by COOK in Westbourne, is worth more than £1,200.

Local charity Faithworks’ trainee programme provides placements for those moving on from homelessness, addiction and prison.

Placements are available within the Carpenters Workshop, emergency furniture delivery service and garden team with the aim of leading to education, volunteering and employment.

Based in Westbourne, the Carpenters Workshop recycles donated wood from businesses and the community.

It is used to produce handcrafted wooden goods such as pens, clocks, bread and cheese boards and larger items requested by customers including garden planters, tables and shelves.

The practical projects not only teach carpentry skills but also build life skills and self-confidence.

An essential part of the workshop is eating meals together, providing the chance for trainees to socialise and relax in each other’s company.

Leo Gwizdala, Carpenters Workshop Manager, said: “I always make lunch for the trainees, however this does take my time away from mentoring and providing support.

“COOK’s generous donation means that I can spend more time with the trainees, while ensuring they still receive a nutritious hot meal.

“It also saves the project valuable funds which can now be invested in the workshop.”

Eating together is regarded as key for good mental health, often having to be relearnt following the highly isolating experiences of homelessness, addiction and being in prison.

It also nurtures community, another key aspect often missing when life is unsettled.

A trainee, known as Mark, said: “Eating together encourages teamwork, helping to build stronger relationships, which leads to better communication and collaboration in the workplace.

“Taking a lunch break also promotes relaxation and reduces stress levels, which has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

“The COOK meals are nutritious and tasty, which leads to increased energy levels and improved concentration, which also boosts productivity in the workshop.”

Mark Holloway, COOK Manager, said: “Our board outside says no act of kindness, however small, is wasted.”


The Carpenters Workshop is always looking for donations of reclaimed wood as well as volunteers to support the trainees.

If you are interested in exploring ways to work together, please contact Rob at Faithworks on 01202 429037.

Items made at the Carpenters Workshop are sold at The Doorstop Shop, St Mike’s Church, Bournemouth, and can be purchased online by clicking here.

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