Interview with Stuart Mills, Founder of Dorset Community Workshop

Interview with Stuart Mills, Founder of Dorset Community Workshop

Working with the homeless, unemployed and those with disabilities, the Dorset Community Workshop supports people in rebuilding their lives through therapeutic activities such as pottery, crafts as well as offering career guidance. Most recently Polyco Healthline made a donation to support the work of the charity.

Reflecting on his own personal journey, Stuart Miles, the founder of the Dorset Community Workshop shares with us the significant milestones in his life that led him to create the charity and reveals how Polyco Healthline’s Black Nitrile gloves are helping with the refurbishment of the new building he is now based in.  

You are helping people with mental health recovery, disabilities, homelessness and unemployment. Why is this important to you? And what kind of difference are you hoping to make to their lives? 

My motivation to create this special place came from a shock I had in late 2016 when I discovered I was unable to have children. I had always wanted to be a dad as a result of being an only child and not having a positive father figure which really affected me growing up.

In 2002, I survived an attempted murder. Following this life-altering incident, I suffered with PTSD for a long time. I didn't have any help to recover which inspired me to set up the Dorset Community.

The space I have created encourages the people who use our services to let go of their past, the trauma they are holding in their bodies or whatever is affecting them and focus on being present in the moment. Once we get them into this space, we can build on positive associations, plan for the future and increase confidence through pride in what they create at the Dorset Community Workshop.

You spent the past 14 months converting an old run-down car garage into a multi-craft workshop.

Why did you do this? I believed that I could create what I had imagined in my mind. I knew how many years it took me to recover from PTSD and I wanted to make a space in which I could help others not loose so much of their lives to mental health issues.

From a practical point of view, the building was in an awful state and wasn't fit for purpose. I knew that it needed to be a warm, welcoming, safe place with heating and hot water.

The building was dilapidated, there was rising damp, poor electrics, no insulation and no plumbing or heating in the main building, so the entire property needed a complete overhaul.

How do our gloves help you and your staff look after your hands as you finish the refurbishment? 

I like to buy the large black Nitrile gloves as I’ve been a builder for twenty odd years. I got big hands from all the manual labouring.

If I’m doing something where comfort is more important, I’ll go for extra-large. If you compare Nitrile against Latex, Nitrile is far superior in strength but still completely tactile as a result of the material.

I have never worked without them since I discovered them! They simply save time and are so convenient. If you are working away from home or where there are no hand washing facilities, you can just change gloves if they get covered in too much grease or paint. Then you carry on working with clean hands and a full grip. 

Even though the gloves are classed as disposable they are strong, and you can easily use them more than once even after they get dirty.