Carving Community is a Community Interest Company that specialises in enaging with hard to reach young people. Our work centres on the practical use of tools such as axes, mauls and spades. We provide a safe environment in which our experienced team can work with young people, challenging difficult feelings and behaviours and beginning the process of reintegrating them into society.


Our courses enable young people to:


Redirect destructive and unhelpful behaviour patterns. 


Deepen their capacity to imagine, enabling them to plan for the future more effectively.


Experience work incorporated with play in a daily structured routine.


Develop a reflective dialogue through an aesthetic understanding.


Learn to reflect on their attitudes and behaviour patterns and implement change.


Learn to work and co-operate in group endeavour.


Learn to tolerate individual differences and needs.


Learn to respect authority and be accountable to boundaries and agreed contracts.


Participate in a group and collaborate in the discussion of contracts and the conditions needed to work together.


Understand health and safety.


Explore their emotions creatively.


Develop a psychological platform for them to be expressive.


Develop an awareness of unhelpful internal dialogues.


Develop an ability to reflect on their actions and outcomes.


Become more focused on their endeavour to engage with their lives.


Develop the ability to be self motivated in their lives.

Carving Community works on the front line of engagement with at risk young people. We work in partnership with other organisations and practitioners (e.g. schools, youth services, local authorities and community organisations) to develop the potential of the young people they serve and enhance the resources and skills of the adults who work with them. Carving Community has been working in this way with young people and adults for twenty years and has a reputation and track record for high quality interventions which have a positive impact on the lives of hard to reach young people.


We are expert in being able to support and redirect young people who are engaged in destructive behaviour. We specialise in dealing with youths who have been known to carry and use knives.


Our approach is to harness their actions and energies that have been previously causing disruption to them and their local communities. We harness these energies into a dynamic creative process through the use of tools that could be used as weapons i.e. Axes and Knives. This enables us to build relationships with the young people whereby we can redirect their energies into positive actions and outcomes.


By affirming their own authority, gained from witnessing and experiencing their own creative transformations, both individually and as a group we can support them in creating new roads of positive experiences. What is significant are the relationships established with us as older men and women facilitators, the re-establishing of a social hierarchy in relation to youth and elders.


As facilitators we are able to break into the established pattern of a youth/peer culture that is youth initiated, supported then manipulated by an adolescent media culture.


By establishing relationships with our team, we can enable the young person to work alongside elders in their community. They can experience adults modelling positive behaviour and communication skills as well as a willingness to positively engage in the young persons perspectives and partake in the idea that they can have their own personal vision.


Our approach is to work in partnership with you to ensure that the programme meets the aims and objectives of the overall project. Our teams will also work in close partnership with families, teachers and local residents to ensure that there is commitment from relevant stakeholders and to ensure that there is meaningful development for the schools, city council and community.

James Bond

I have worked since I was thirteen, starting on a Country estate on the edge of Exeter as a Gamekeepers assistant. The Head Gamekeeper taught me to carve walking sticks, which was a transformational experience for me. I went onto Sparsholt Agriculture College obtaining a Diploma in Gamekeeping and Waterkeeping. After travelling and living abroad I returned to England in my mid twenties and obtained a first class honours Degree from St. Martins College of Art in London. I went on to study for an M.A at Glasgow School of Art.


In my early thirties I met James Hillman Psychologist and cultural thinker and was invited to America to partake in seminars on discussion on Art and the Environment, where I also met and worked with Michael Meade a Mythologist who has also greatly influenced my work. I have found that having an older man who I can admire has been crucial to my well-being and development throughout my life.


For the past twenty years I have been working with young people and in the same way as mentors and unique characters influenced me, I wish to pass on the knowledge I have acquired to younger generations  by creating experiential learning for young people outside a classroom learning structure.



Brian Melrose

I attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts where I studied painting and sculpture. Through a series of other life/work experiences I became a personal development trainer/youth worker. I specialised in working with hard to reach/those at risk young people utilising traditional approaches to outdoor education.


I developed my own ‘new ways’ of working in this field; complementing this with contemporary approaches, methods and themes to ‘youth rites of passage’. These are my main preoccupation’s as a worker. I have worked regionally, nationally and internationally with other organisations and facilitators developing this approach to ‘youth work’.


I have also undertaken my own personal training experiences; ‘New Warrior/Mankind Project’ – ‘Contemporary Rites of Passage – Wild Dance’. I have recently completed a P.G.C.E qualification.


Nicola Pitcher

Nicola Pitcher is a state registered drama therapist and member of the Health Professionals Council with over 20 years experience working with young people at risk and adults who work with them in the UK, Europe and USA.  A background in fine art and performance has equipped her with an innovative and creative approach. 


During the past 10 years she has been a consultant and senior trainer in conflict transformation, developing, delivering and evaluating quality training for young people and adults in the UK. She has specialised in working with gangs, weapons and knife crime and supporting sports professionals who work with high-risk young people. 



Jassy  Denison

Jassy Denison is a counsellor and community mediator, working for the past 20 years in community development, peer education, dialogue and conflict.  She has worked extensively delivering programmes for staff and students in schools, including working with challenging behaviour and conflict, mentoring, restorative justice and parent/community involvement.


As a community cohesion advisor for the Department for Communities and Local Government, she has managed and delivered projects building cohesion and facilitating dialogue and mediation in areas with high levels of conflict.




Nia  Imani Kuumba

Nia Imani Kuumba has worked nationally and internationally in Europe, the Caribbean and USA. He has 26 years of experience in delivering and developing training for adults and young people in schools, community centres and prisons. As a Gangs and Territorial Worker he designed and delivered an action research project, developing a training manual  “Working with Gangs”.


Most recently he has been involved in developing new training techniques for working with racism, homophobia and sexism for the Department for Children and Families.



The Carving Community team brings a rich experience of developing creative, participatory projects with young people from a varied range of settings over the last 20 years.


We have been working locally in Exeter, Plymouth and other areas of Devon and Cornwall on housing estates, in referral units, city parks.


Working with the National Trust Estates and Parks: Killerton in devon and Dalehead Base Camp in the Peak District, Running woodland residentials.


Our work has taken us further afield in the UK, most recently Slough a SEN School, Sheffield and Glasgow, and in the past internationally to Bosnia, Romania and USA.


We have supported the development of new visionary work with young people through group conferences and seminars in Wales, England, Scotland, New York and Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California.


Carving Community is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC). Community Interest Companies are a type of limited company designed specifically for those wishing to operate for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. This means that a CIC cannot be formed or used solely for the personal gain of a particular person or group of people.


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