The Company’s objectives are to promote, encourage, develop, assist and engage in the performance of rural skills and activities by:
- Training in sustainable and traditional building skills (straw, cob and lime)
- Training in rural skills (e.g. blacksmithing, welding and glassblowing etc)
- Supporting local people in these crafts
- General promotion of sustainability
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated August 2017
1) Provision of training courses in rural skills
Dorset Centre for Rural Skills (DCRS) delivers training courses in the crafts listed below, but also acts as a hub for information relating to these disciplines.
Specific areas of information disseminated by DCRS are;
- Sustainable and low cost housing resources
- Information relating to the maintenance and repair of ancient heritage buildings
- Maintenance and restoration of ancient monuments
- A consultancy service aimed at home owners and guardians of historic monuments
Course frequency and numbers of students (approx attendance per year):
- Straw Bale house building - 2 courses/25 students
- Lime plastering, rendering mortar - 4 courses/40 students
- Welding - 36 courses/150 students
- Basket making - 4 courses/20 students
- Spoon carving - 2 courses/12 students
- Glass Blowing - 36 courses/80 students
- Blacksmithing - 24 courses/106 students
- Cob maintenance talk - 2 courses/20 students
2) Outcomes of training for participants
Learning a new skill or refreshing confidence in old skills can be life enhancing and mentally revitalising. Our courses vary from craft based skills, such as basket making and spoon carving, to educational craft days, such as glass blowing, which is not only a fabulous experience but displays the amazing skills involved in glass blowing, making course participants aware of the true costs of hand made glass.
Our building based courses, straw bale, lime, cob etc, all serve not only existing builders who wish to expand their skills base, but also self builders and home owners who all find the courses informative and empowering. All our building courses focus on sustainable, low cost methods of construction, and traditional building skills with outcomes that produce low cost, low energy use homes. The result of this is we see people go on to build their own homes where they may not have been able to afford housing, and to have the skill to maintain old houses, an essential knowledge for the future of our heritage buildings. Existing builders and plasterers learn about traditional crafts using lime, and go onto expand their skill base.
Our welding courses cover all ages and requirements, from farmers wanting to maintain equipment, sculptors, vehicle maintenance professionals and enthusiasts, and ex army personnel requiring new skills for employment.
Students often leave with the confidence and knowledge to start a new business. Disabled students are actively encouraged to learn new skills, and the workshops are adapted to facilitate this.
3) Protecting traditional skills at risk of dying out
DCRS provides a vital link to practical skills that are sorely lacking in a modern society that wastes resources instead of creating, repairing, or remaking from them.
Course participants and the society they live in benefit in many ways, such as increased skill levels that can then be passed on, financial benefits from making and repairing instead of buying new, often imported, goods. Skills that are in danger of dying out are given a new lease of life from both being practiced, and an enhanced perception of the processes needed to carry them out.