High Noon with the High Sheriff

Next Tuesday 12th March we receive a number of visitors led by North Yorkshire’s High Sheriff. This is a follow up to the Dragon’s Den contest of last year, organised by Two Ridings Community Foundation, and shared with 5 other volunteer-based projects across the region (including Whitby Interactive).

Among other things the Dragons want to know our direction of travel with the Sheds. What have we been doing since last November? Where are we going in the medium and longer term?

  • Well, we are looking to found a Shed in Robin Hoods Bay/Fylingthorpe. It will be called the Baythorpe Shed. We are not there yet with arrangements but it seems to be welcomed locally when waters have been tested.
  • We continue to support start up Sheds in North Yorkshire in our role as a Northern Ambassador. There were 16 people from Scarborough at Whitby today (a small army of men and women). There to see what a Shed can be.
  • We are now constituted as two Registered Charities – Staithes Area Sheds and Whitby Area Sheds. Quite a bit of paperwork there:-)
  • We continue to network and enjoy mutual support with other voluntary organisations and projects, and in particular relevant referral agencies. We are not an island.
  • We have successfully launched (with Scouts and 2 schools) children and young people’s challenging workshops that complement schools and helps develop “our” young.
  • We have grown trust. Vital. Trust oils wheels. We have done that in a very intentional way with Whitby Eskmouth Scouts (in Sleights too) and also the Scarborough district. We have also worked in a pilot activity with Youth Justice. Effectively intervention along the lines of restorative justice.

What of the future?

We are already walking into the future – hopefully not sleepwalking into it.

With a good spread of Whitby Sheds in place, a new pioneering effort which was a gleam in our eye at Dragons Den time, relates to children and young people. This may not appear to be core work for Men’s Sheds but there are many similarities – isolation and mental wellbeing are factors across the board.

In fact, the issue of pressures on young people and impact on mental health wellbeing have been much in the news in recents years. Activities that engage young people in non-screen activities and in small group settings are bebeficial. What is proposed is preventative, not an intervention, although it may at times be that (as we see sometimes in Sheds).

The focus could be regarded as part of our Sheds “corporate social responsibilty”! Reaching out to the community.

Thus Kidz Making Good is launched and Sleights Youth Shed is gently shaping. These will only work with partners and with support from the community in many, many ways. But manageable if the elephant is eaten piece by piece.

As with Sheds, we are having to find a Whitby Way forward which is an exciting challenge.

Will the Kidz Making Good and Sleights Youth Shed live under Whitby Area Sheds for years to come? We hope they will continue for years to come but they will become separately constituted activities once they are stable.

In our view there is a lot of similarity between Sheds and this kind of hands on and minds on work with youngsters. We must retain flexibility and our bottom up approach (working with others) is a very good model for that.

We would welcome anyone who can provide some time and thinking to the way forward. Voluntary, or maybe finding a way an organisation could support a worker for a period.

An exciting community contribution. See a collage below from last week’s pilot Wokshops.

Glass Art, e-Repair and 3D modelling

Meanwhile, back at the ranch of the Sheds this past three days.

We’ve just ordered up two dust extractors (like Staithes’) for Whitby Shed. Dust from mechanical sanding floats everywhere, including through nose and mouth. (see Tony’s photo above) but an extractor endeavours to remove dust ckoser to its source. Lathe like Staithes on its way soon to Littlebeck.

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