Tiny Home course in September – apply now!

Wessex Community Assets is working with partners in West Dorset to offer a free training programme this autumn. The course will introduce participants to sustainable construction, and basic timber and carpentry skills, through the building of a ‘tiny house’. 

The project coordinator, Tim Crabtree, of WCA is excited to be inviting 14 Dorset-based people to join the course: “Participants will work with six other trainees on one of two five-day courses, and also attend three one-day sessions where they will learn additional skills as well as receiving advice on future training, employment, or business start-up opportunities.”

This programme is linked to the Raise the Roof project, that has involved local organisations such Bridport Town Council, Common Ground and the Arts Development Company working with the architects Assemble Studio to create designs for affordable housing using sustainable materials grown in Dorset. Tim Crabtree continued: “The tiny house courses are an opportunity to prototype these new designs. When completed, the tiny house will be donated to a homelessness charity to provide accommodation for an entrenched rough sleeper.”

WCA has secured course funding through Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership under a scheme called Community Training Grants, which is co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The programme will offer skills, training, and employment opportunities for individuals who are unemployed or economically inactive. No previous experience is necessary to do the course.

The courses are taking place in a workspace provided by local farmer Victor Crutchley in West Dorset, with timber sourced and processed from his own woodlands. The skills learned on the course will be applicable to a wide range of contexts, from sustainable construction, to joinery such as doors and windows, to designing and making furniture. The course will include a basic introduction to building design, as well as forestry and timber processing.

The course tutors include Karen Hansen, a furniture designer and constructor who has worked with natural materials in West Dorset for 25 years, and Alice Blogg, one of the country’s foremost female designers in wood, and craftsmen Adrian Janssen and James McClennan. The course coordinator, Tim Crabtree, is the founder of a number of local social enterprises including Dorset’s farmers’ markets, the Local Food Links school meals service, Dorset Community Energy, and Bridport Area Development Trust.

Alice said: “This is exactly the kind of course I would have wanted to take part in when I was thinking about becoming a designer-maker. It’s a wonderful opportunity for local people to begin a fantastic and inspiring career.”

By the end of the course participants will have explored all the basic elements of creating a tiny house, including:

  • Basic building design and understanding the advantages of different layouts
  • An introduction to timber growing and selection for construction uses
  • Building a simple stud frame for a building approx 2.55m x 5m.
  • Building a roof
  • Cladding and insulating the walls
  • Installing windows and doors
  • Using hand tools safely and working as a team.

Following the Tiny House course, participants will be supported to explore options for further training in construction and carpentry, or advised on possible employment opportunities. The course will be made up of two cohorts, taking part in the build from either Monday 21st September – Friday 25th September, or Monday 28th September – Friday 2nd October.

To apply, please fill out this form by noon on Tuesday 1st September. To apply, you must live within Dorset (this includes Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole). For further information and eligibility, contact Tim Crabtree on tim.crabtree@wessexca.co.uk. For media enquiries or comment, contact hannah@stirtoaction.com.