What is 'In Her Hands'?
In Her Hands is a non-profit CIC (community interest company) that aims to dismantle the inaccessible nature of building and create an empowering space for women and all gender diverse folk (all trans and non-binary inclusive!) to learn and explore the fundamentals of construction.
We're doing this by teaching basic building skills at our radical workshop space in West Sussex, running outreach events and facilitating other projects to bring and support more marginalised women to access the workshop. Plus we're creating an inspirational online platform for story sharing and creative representation of women, non-binary and trans folk working with tools. This will begin with a podcast series set to release early 2023.
What are the goals of the project?
We're aiming to create a space where whether it's being able to mend your own cupboard doors, put up shelves, build a shed or construct your own home, the limits will be your determination, not your gender. We want to reform the outdated and immobilising narrative that women are physically not as capable as men to build, and are mentally not as capable to engineer their own build plans.
Our core values are empowerment, inclusivity and sustainability. We're reclaiming and re-using all of the timber in our workshop so that nothing goes to waste.
How does the workshop operate?
We finished an initial renovation process of an old stable building just outside of Steyning, West Sussex (14 miles from Brighton). We offer weekly open access workshop days. These are running on a pay-as-you-can basis because we think your financial situation shouldn’t be a barrier to learning new skills and feeling empowered! Taught and facilitated by women, (and our amazing trans-masc spoon carving tutor!) we aspire to create a fun, un-pressured environment where we approach fundamental building skills with access to tools (hand and power), bench space and supportive guidance from skilled builders and makers. Our workshop is inviting, warm and friendly.
There's an outdoor fire pit, communal hangout space and garden kitchen, where we'll make plentiful tea/coffee and basic rice and dhal lunches. We have a tiny veggie garden where we're growing salads for our lunches and herbs for teas.
In Her Hands is a really unique project, perhaps the first of its kind in the UK. We’re aware of a small handful of building initiatives for women and girls but none in Sussex and none that approach the issue in quite the same way (a focus on building confidence and independence, work with marginalised women of all ages, trans and non-binary inclusive, pay-what-you-feel workshops, increasing visibility of women in trade). We believe changing the industry starts small, seeded in channeling self belief and rising from ground level upwards.
We are running our workshops on a pay-what-you-can basis so that regardless of income workshops are available and inclusive to anyone.
Open Access Workshops: We'll leave it in your hands as to how much you're able to contribute but we've come up with some guide prices based on the cost of materials, facilitator time and refreshments: Unemployed £0-10, Low-income £15-25; Standard £30-40; Pay it forward (give a little extra to help pay for someone else's session) £45.