Can you tell us a brief history of RAW Workshop and how your own experiences led you to start the company?
I used to work in shiny advertising agencies in London and became ‘disillusioned’. I woke up one day with the sudden revelation that it was all utter bollocks….on pretty much every level. I’d always had an interest in people and, more importantly, the remarkable things they can achieve.
I like folks who’ve fought and survived adversity, the ones who found a way to live with hardship and the ones who make brave and radical changes. But, I didn’t want to work for ‘a charity’ - it just struck me that all the great work is based on a relentless pressure to raise funds. Basing any business on goodwill, donations and the hope that government won’t cut funding seemed unrealistic.
What I did know is that brands, corporates and retailers were trying hard to increase their social impact and - as we used to blather on about in our suits - ‘emotional brand value’. So, imagine this, a company that creates products that are as good, if not better, than others on the market at the same price. One that can run services that are utterly professional and cost effective. Cool? Yeah, but nothing special about that. What is special is if you hardwire social impact and environmental benefits into every single thing you make or do. Now, that is cool. That’s how RAW was born.
What are the benefits of Raw Workshop for the participants?
It’s about changing self-perception and, as we say, ‘Be Exceptional not The Exception’. Society has this bonkers stigma based attitude that if somebody has overcome an addiction, moved away from a life of crime, found a way to live with a mental health issue and so on, they’re ‘disadvantaged’. We say bollocks to that.
In RAW, we admire the resilience, tenacity and sheer grit it takes to make those changes. If you’ve been through that kind of hell, lived with those kind of difficulties and found a way to survive - you are, de facto, Exceptional. Sure, we train people, employ them and so on but that’s the easy bit. It’s getting people to turn that energy into a self-fuelling fire that propels them into an amazing future.
For some people, that future is a career they never dreamed of. For others it’s simply having somewhere to come every day where they are welcomed, not judged and part of a formidable Crew. We also base a lot of what we do on this very simple truth: ‘Bees need a hive. Humans need a tribe’. Being alone or isolated, with nothing to get up for or to be proud of is pants. If you’re part of RAW, you’re part of something special.
You take all that energy, attitude and desire to show people they are wrong about you and you’ve got a mighty good company of men and women. That leads to damn fine products and services.
Do the participants create their own designs or do they follow a brief?
They tend to follow a client led brief but there’s plenty of opportunity to create their own pieces.
If we wanted to volunteer for Raw Workshop how would we go about this?
Please get in touch - Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01865 714111
What would volunteering involve?
What do want to do? We have everything from workshop/woodwork, logistics, deliveries, customer service, social media/marketing and much more.
What's next for Raw Workshop, are there any new projects in the near future?
Oh yes. But it’s all a bit hush-hush at the moment…..
Check out more of Raw Workshop here - www.raw-workshop.co.uk