Residents at Belong Wigan celebrated the arrival of spring by decorating an eclectic range of wooden bird boxes that were created especially for members of the community care village.
The bird boxes, which included an open feeding table, boat and Moroccan church, were made to a bigger scale than normal, giving residents and Experience Day customers at Belong Wigan plenty of scope to paint and accessorise them.
Stewart Walder, who uses the Experience Days service to spend time at Belong Wigan, said:
“We had a great time decorating the bird boxes and deciding how we’d use them to brighten up the communal gardens in the village. It had been a long time since I painted something just for the fun of it!”
Mark Stott and Stewart Walder in Marks garden workshop
The bird boxes were made by lifelong Wigan resident, Mark Stott, aged 80, who was born and raised in Higher Ince and whose daughter Marie Calderbank works as Experience Coordinator in Belong Wigan. Mark’s interest in woodwork began as a child watching his grandfather work as a wheelwright, making wheels for carts. Following recent heart problems, Mark now uses woodwork as a way to stay active and stimulated.
After retiring at the age of 53, Mark began to pursue his passion in earnest, rediscovering a talent for woodworking. In his garden shed workshop Mark has created countless projects since, including woodwork for his local church, garden furniture for his local pub and kennels for family pets.
After 58 years of marriage to his wife, Kathleen, Mark said:
“The secret to a long and happy marriage is definitely a garden shed!”
After the success of the bird box project, Belong Wigan, which is a charitable organisation, is now looking for any people or businesses in the local area with a large shed that could be donated to the village, to set up as a workshop in the Belong Wigan gardens, for use as a workshop by people living in the care village.
Gill Menguy, General Manager at Belong Wigan, said:
“This has been a lovely experience for everybody involved. We have a member of the local community who found purpose and stimulation by creating something for the people that live here, and in turn his kind gifts allowed people in the village to express themselves creatively.
We’re always looking for volunteers to help out at Belong Wigan. Volunteering can take many shapes and we value the contributions of anybody that gives up their free time to benefit our residents.”