Many of you who follow the goings-on of the Black Dog Workshop on its YouTube channel and/or Facebook page will have seen…well, not a lot since the last update in November, and for that, I must apologise.
I’ve not been sat around doing nothing. Quite the contrary, as those who follow my other YouTube channel and Facebook pages will know. But this update is about the Black Dog Workshop and where it is currently regarding its plans.
Mental Illness Agencies
Since I last wrote back in November, I’ve been in touch with various mental health agencies – and that is where we still are. They are busy people, and I assume understaffed as trying to find the right person to talk to is very difficult, and if messages are being passed on, there has been little or no come-back on them. I can’t blame them at all – they are busy people with important work to do, so chasing them week-in week-out seems rude. A standard response is ‘We’ll get back to you’. OK, I’ll await the call.
My original hope was to have plans and workshops in place for these agencies and the people they help quickly, but frustratingly this is not the case. Bringing something new into an already busy agency is clearly going to take time. And whilst the Black Dog Workshop was put together in record time (I move quickly when I put my mind to it), other people cannot work as quickly as a one-man business. This may be because of Red Tape, committees, action groups, other groups, or simply being so busy that ‘new stuff’ and ideas get put on the back burner.
Earning a Living
In November, I said that I need to earn a living. I make no apology for having to make a living and earn back some of the money that has been invested into the Black Dog Workshop. I can’t teach woodturning for free, and hopefully no-one will expect me to. So, the other side of the business has continued, and grown since the workshop opened. It is almost at a point where I can actually start to pay myself something.
Lessons, Workshops and Teaching
One of the core reasons for setting up the Black Dog Workshop was to reach people and “…be able to promote woodturning to many, many people and give those suffering with mental health problems an experience that they find relaxing, and more than a little therapeutic.” (read this item here). The first half of this statement has been successful so far – I have given lessons to a growing number of people since the doors opened in November. The second half of that statement is taking more time, but there have been students who are suffering from mental illness who have benefited from their lesson at the BDW.
Publicity and Marketing
Publicising and marketing around mental health issues is, for me at least, a bit of a problem. I don’t mind using myself as an example of how woodturning benefits mental health sufferers, but I do mind using others, so marketing around mental health is a tricky thing to put into practice at the moment.
Any marketing you have seen for the BDW over the last couple of months has been about teaching turning – to anyone…not specifically mental health sufferers. This is not because I am keeping it secret or tucked away – it is something I want to embark on with one or more of the agencies I am aiming to work with – by doing so will give more credence to the workshop and what it can offer, rather than having ‘just’ a woodturner exploiting the fact he runs these courses and has benefited from turning ‘therapy’ himself. There’s as much information on the site here as I can give away at the moment, because there are currently no agencies on-side to boast about or publicise with.
Still Very Young
One mustn’t forget that the Black Dog Workshop is not yet six months old, and although the initial momentum of the build has slowed to a virtual halt, it is still moving forward. And forward it will continue to move and overcome anything thrown at it.