Rows of chisels hang above the workbench, a vice is clamped tightly to the tabletop and sawdust cascades down onto the floor from an electric sander.

As Forces Radio BFBS Catterick's Chris Kaye discovered, this sanctuary is helping veterans regain that vital sense of belonging.

The woodshed at recovery centre Phoenix House in Catterick Garrison is where ex-Gunner Kevin Gray comes for respite from his own mental health problems.

Woodcraft allows the British Army veteran to focus his attention on one single absorbing task.

Following his medical discharge from the Royal Artillery, the 46-year-old has struggled to find a new purpose in life.

"This whole place gives you a sense of belonging. That brotherhood. I know I've got this continued support should I stumble."

Kevin Gray with General Lord Houghton & Lady Houghton at Phoenix House in Catterick

Nine months ago, the Lancastrian began a project to create a custom-made rocking horse from scratch.

The process starts by glueing fourteen sheets of Baltic birch together. The template is then carved and shaped until the finish is as smooth as glass. This rocking horse took 200 hours to complete.

The finished article is presented to Lady Houghton, the wife of the former Chief of the Defence Staff for the Armed Forces, General Sir Nicholas Houghton.

The design is based on Lady Houghton's own horse 'Mingle'.

"It's even better than I could have imagined. It's very tactile. The leather work is superb. The mane and tail is just like my horse."

Standing in the background, wearing a dusty black apron, is a man beaming with pride.

Woodshop Supervisor and Help For Heroes volunteer Bob Marshall is a 25-year military communications expert who is not just a mentor to Kevin, but a friend too. He has been overseeing Kevin's handy work over the last year.

"Guys like Kev reaffirm what we are trying to do. Give somebody direction.

"Kevin has been ideal to work with because he is very meticulous and because he's very open about what it means to him, it is encouraging other people to try stuff for themselves."

Kevin is now working on three newly commissioned rocking horses.

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