In the Woodpecker woodwork shop at Lark Hill Village, a dedicated team is providing valuable services to residents and staff alike across the Village. Bill Hodder, Mick Parker and Al Preston hand out business cards with their contact details on, and they are joined in the workshop by John Toulson.
On any given day, they are in demand to make commissioned items, volunteer to fix broken furniture, alter walking sticks and even open tough bottle lids!
One of their biggest jobs was building the Village’s summer house from scratch two years ago. They raised the funds from residents, and Bill carved the name of each person who donated. It was a big project that was really appreciated by other residents at the Village.
However, not long after it was officially opened, it was horrifically vandalised. Bill says: “It was soul destroying. There was nothing we could use from what they’d done.”
They felt it was important to repair it as soon as possible, and have attempted to make it as sturdy and vandal-proof as possible. Mick says: “People like to use it. In the summer time, especially, we had some good times there.”
The group can usually be found in the workshop five days a week. John explains that they have all worked hard all their lives: “We were all self-employed before. It took me three years after I retired before I could sit down after lunch without feeling guilty!”
In addition to the summer house, they have produced benches and planters around the Village, as well as numerous other commissions for residents and staff. Bill said: “When people moved in, with the heating here, some pieces of furniture started to shrink. We’ve fixed that for a lot of people, and we’ve also done some work in the office.”
Word of mouth has led to the team receiving quite a few outside commissions as well. They built a bar for Verona Court and have done other work for ExtraCare Schemes and Villages. Bill says: “People come visiting, saying they could do with something like that but there’s no one to do it for them – but here we are!”