My Year at START

START is a creative arts & well-being centre in Salford for people with mental and physical health problems. I was “prescribed” a year at the centre by my doctor to see if it would help my mild bipolar, and now that year is up I can honestly say that it did wonders.

I started off doing textiles, then tried my hand at ceramics, mosaics, papercrafts and calligraphy. Some things I loved more than others, but I don’t regret giving anything a go.

In May, a year after I’d broken my wrist and feeling more confident in its strength, I got onto the woodturning course. During the break an hour in, I sent a text to my husband:

We need a lathe.

I was in love. I joined a couple of forums and read every article I could find. I subscribed to several YouTube channels. By the third week in, I was looking at lathes and sheds; the latter because I needed somewhere to store everything I wanted.

My year at START ended today, with my last session in woodwork, but it’s not quite the end of it all – I can continue to attend the Friday leisure sessions, of which woodturning is an option. This session costs, but it’s a small amount to be allowed to keep on practising!

START has given me tons of confidence and a passion for a new hobby, which I’m slowly turning into a small business. It’s given me focus and drive, and it was lovely to have something to look forward to each week. To have somewhere to go where no on judged you and everyone was really friendly.

And woodturning isn’t the only thing I’ll be doing with START – my mentor, a fellow yarn addict, has asked me to lead a knit-and-natter! I’m not sure when this is starting, but it’ll be fairly soon and I’m really excited. Not just for getting together with fellow yarnies, but being able to pay START back in a small way and being able to help others.

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