After the Sheds . . .

SAMS Shed opening event

It is a strange feeling for a number of Shedders who were part of establishing the Sleights Area Men’s Shed in Littlebeck. Almost exactly 4 years ago.

We have lived with Sheds morning, noon and night as they expanded in our rural area and we also moved into the area of workshops and a Youth Shed for children and young people.

All suddenly brought to a halt in a matter of days. Not just our work and that of other voluntary groups, but almost all activities that are social. Keep your distance.

It’s hard for activities like ours that are virtually family. Where we care about each other and sometimes for each other. Banter has been an indispensable tool in our toolbox. That needs to be preserved.

That’s why we are already trialling videoconferencing. To enable audio banter and visual bad looks!

Not everybody is conversant with this means of communication but it has kept us close with our Aussie family these past few years. We are trialling a simple app that is, as they say, cloud based. We can call a Shed meeting for a particular time and chunter away to each other from our isolation cells. 

We’ve got Bob Hodge, Rob Shilson, Don Brayshaw and Brian Holliday on it. Very straightforward in a couple of cases and fairly easily in the others. There can be 10’s of Shedders online at the same time from across our Sheds if we want which would be a fun event. We could show our achievements in our own sheds at home and on kitchen tables!

Even if you don’t like technology, this might be the opportunity to change that.

Give Graham a ring 07763 656627 and give it a go!


Here is a plug for Maggie’s daughter, Lisa (who has given Kiz Making Good support too)

Lisa Pollard has run an online Facebook resource “Kool for Kids” for some years. It provides ideas of what to do during holiday periods in particular but now it is perhaps even more relevant.

Cool for Kids link

Take a look for inspiration. 

Lisa’s mother, Maggie, has been a twice a week regular at Staithes Shed and closure of the Sheds means we will lose face-to-face contact but the Sheds are bringing in the opportunity for Shedders to banter by video. We’ll have online Sheds – at least the banter half that is so important.

Let’s keep in touch anyway we can – touchless relationships.


Update on Zoom for our Sheds.

The majority of Shedders are hands on people who enjoy the distraction of making stuff. Some are into social media but certainly not the majority. However, our ability to engage with each other electronically will accelerate as imposed isolation takes hold. We need relationships for balanced wellbeing. If we start now, I am firmly convinced that many opportunities to engage together (in and out of the Shed families) will arise. Broadcasting, if you like. Ingenuity which is a Shed hallmark.

I have an update this morning from my son in Australia who suggested Zoom to me (and I note from Whitby Coronavirus facebook that Hope Whitby is using also).

Here is a summary of what he told me about their across ages, multiple campus school which is expected to close in a managed way in the near future. The infrastructure and strategy for online classes from home is in place. The school has excellent administration and information systems that they have built up and reinvested in for some years but the one thing missing was online teaching. Largely a new experience for everyone.

What there wasn’t was video teaching. Zoom is a readymade tool for it with the main safeguard embedded being that it involves students being invited (instructed!!) to join a particular lesson at a certain time via a link published that serves as a reminder too. As people join the lesson, they can be seen and the list is an attendance record!

On Tuesday evening (our yesterday morning) my son led an awareness and training session for staff for them to be acquainted with the basics (not the possible bells and whistles!). In a day or two there will be an in school virtual Assembly (which have been cancelled for a while already). Students in classrooms will connect to the Assembly – as a trial and wider proof of concept.

He wrote a quick guide for staff for this occasion and you can see it below (to be added). It is written for their circumstance and for use at and after the face-to-face hands on demonstration/presentation. So it is not a full idiot’s guide!

Neil coined the phrase for the team “Together Apart”. Interesting because Graham used the phrase in the construction industry for communication “Working Together Apart”.   Must be in our genes!

Even if it goes against our natural grain, there is a responsibility on all our parts as citizens to give this kind of thing a go (there are other alternative tools). This is the natural way that healthcare is moving towards the online also, so this is the opportunity for us to learn something about what is involved.

Pauline Routledge quite well known in Sleights circles and well over the magic “70” used Skype (a similar technology) to meet up with Graham in Australian cafes where he could get free internet! Pauline has been someone willing to move with the times. Join her mindset!!

Finally. To prove we do it. Here is our Aussie granddaughter this morning with her “Grandad” figure that we bought at a Sleights health event 7 or 8 months ago. Graham denies he ever was green!


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