Mental Health Awareness Week 15 – 21 May 2023 and some of what the Sheds are doing on that

There’s an awful lot of anxiety around. It comes in many different forms and due to many different circumstances. Anxiety about the past, present and even the future. Things we cannot easily resolve because they seem to be part and parcel of modern life.

Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face. In a recent mental health survey we carried out around stress, anxiety and hopelessness over personal finances, a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time. Six in ten adults feel this way, at least some of the time. On a positive note, anxiety can be made easier to manage.
Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change – making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.

A Shed can help restore balance and perspective. It is not THE solution but simply getting into any saddle to “do something” can be the start of restoration.

Sheds have very flat structures that means they are very flexible at helping changing needs amongst existing and new Shedders.

Now for general Shed news

Rob has forwarded a piece on the way he distributes one by one postcards about the doing place. He finds people quite receptive!

If You Live around Whitby – You Might be Receiving One of These

Take a card, any card . . . .

I am pleased to report that the ’The Doing Place’ postcard is being very well received.
I usually carry a few with me and hand them out where I feel that they could be met with interest.
Some examples have been:
A neighbour who asked ‘How is the Shed going Rob?’ Now Dave himself I don’t think will ever attend…but his daughter might . . . . .
I popped into the Dispensary shop in Skinner Street, a very positive response there. 
I recently collected some freecycle computer leads from a lovely lady at St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre in Sleights. These leads I though may be useful for our Zoom sessions. I left her with a card and a ‘This is who we are and what we do’.
The list goes on.
Some recipients were already aware of the Whitby Town Shed but had not realised our expansion to wider fields that are depicted on the postcard. ‘Let’s Mend It’, often raises an interested smile.
I am visiting two new venues next week… I will be card carrying!

Continuing with the Doing Place, information from the Krampus Krew

Whitby “Krampus Run” Workshops 
Since we started up in 2013 with themed life drawing sessions at La Rosa  ( hence the name Decadent Drawing) we’ve been organising projects and events aimed at encouraging creativity especially for those in the community with little or no experience and people who are socially isolated and lack confidence. The idea is to challenge what is considered to be “art“ and break down boundaries. 
Whitby Krampus Run, the alternative Christmas event has developed since 2013 into a big feature of the Whitby Festival calendar in partnership with tourism, local businesses, charities and fellow community groups 
We’ve been facilitating workshops in partnership with the Shed making props for the event, learning together new skills from scratch. We’ve had no experience in making parade puppets before but last year we created the Red Dragon / Whitby Wyrm which was a great success.
These are informal sessions, getting together to make things, tell stories and share interests in local folklore and history 
The next sessions are going to have a theme focusing on the Neolithic and Bronze Age history and legends of the North Yorks moors, making monoliths and “totem” poles. We’ve already had a go at interpreting the Star Carr horned  headdresses and the Barghest 
Here’s one of the influences
Come and join in on a Wednesday in the Main Hall at Eskmouth Scout Hall. One of the Doing Place opportunities.

Two works of art


Karen’s Restoration Chair. Don’t sit on it yet!

Steve Marsh did this. Yes really. Routed. Elaine says that he’s a different man at home. An inspiring man?












Rob Visits ParticipAction

Rob has been on a mission in recent months. To uncover and visit projects and activities that are fundamentally addressing very similar needs to Whitby District Sheds. You will have read above that one of his tools is to have a bunch of calling postcards to illustrate what the Shed’s purpose is and what the Doing Place is trying to do!

On Tuesday, clued up by Bryn that ParticiPaction might need some planters etc, Rob went to chat with leaders Tony and Barry at ParticiPactions base adjacent to Larpool Care Home.

“ParticipAction Whitby is a community initiative offering horticulture as a means of relaxation and therapy. It has operated successfully since 2011 at its site in the grounds of Larpool Home for the Elderly.
Interested in this project, Rob called with a view to connect with the Whitby Town Shed. The Shed could perhaps offer assistance in building raised planters as their current stock was rapidly deteriorating.
On arrival the first thing that happened was that he was offered a cup of tea…not a bad start!
Tony then introduced the members present and provided a tour of their premises. Very impressive, such a calm and peaceful environment. They have raised beds, vegetable plots and a greenhouse. There is a ‘woodland walk’, numerous seating areas and a luscious lawn.
Rob spoke with other members and felt a camaraderie similar to the Sheds. A lady member commented that she lived in a nearby flat but now could still ‘garden’. ParticipAction also provides therapeutic activity for those with mental health issues and/or learning difficulties.
Robs instinctive feeling was that this could work. Phone numbers were exchanged and discussion will ensue.. this is a ‘together’ project not only for those who attend but maybe the two projects in liaison with each other.”

Take a look . . . .

Quite an estate and the sunshine comes free.


There’s been a number of “glitches” of different types getting in the way of way of making progress with Colin’s Story and his passion for song! Some were health, some vacation but quite a number were to do with technology (or our use of it).

HOWEVER, last week Graham and Bryn spent a chunk of the Wednesday afternoon after the Whitby Shed with Colin. More accurately, sitting apart from Colin!  He was in his room with the door closed and we were in the lounge nearby. We got Zoom going and then started on a new part of the journey – recording snippets of Colin’s early life and jumping to the other end of his story, to him speaking about how he copes with life in a wheelchair in a care home and the fighting back he has done.

This week Graham rediscovered (relearned) video editing and two 5 minute chapters are being created. 

Colin is an inspiration. A very troubling inspiration but life is better for us because of him.

Soon we will be creating some Zoom excerpts with others in Whitby district who have supported and encouraged Colin in recent years. Trying to get it all done over the next couple of months or so. 

Colin is going to record excerpts from some personally significant songs and hymns. He still has (to our ears) a very good voice (and range)

Whitby District Sheds and Beach Sweep will be at an event organised by the Rugby Club

It will feature initiatives and activities that are there to aid people’s wellbeing. We are working together with Whitby Beach Sweep and aim not just have displays but also some things for kids to do.

It is on Sunday 25th June.

Shout out to the people of Whitby and the surrounding areas. Everyone is welcome to  Whitby Community Day on Sunday 25th Junem
Come along to a free day from 12:00 involving over 20 sporting clubs, wellbeing organisations and groups showing their excellent work with opportunities to join, try and enjoy activities.
There will be tug of war competition on the day. Entry forms and information are available from
The day will showcase some excellent activities, challenges and enjoyment, there is limited availability remaining. If you are interested in a free stall please message the rugby club no later than the 26th May.
  • There will be street food available on the day.We look forward to hosting such a brilliant event and show together the great community Whitby has.Try, learn, discover and explore what Whitby has to offer.


  • Whitby Cricket Club  
  • Whitby Jets Basketball Club
  • Bumps and Babies Whitby and Surrounding Areas
  • Whitby Friendship Amateur Rowing Club
  • WHISH Community
  • Whitby DAG
  • Whitby Boxing Club
  • Whitby Golf Club
  • Whitby Coastal Rowing Club
  • Whitby Yacht Club
  • Whitby Beach Sweep
  • Parkrun 
  • UK Angling Trust
  • Whitby District Sheds
  • Whitby Squash Club
  • Whitby RUFC
  • Whitby Town Football Club
  • Sea Swim Yorkshire
  • Colebrooke Productions


Hi everyone… is a quick Jim update on some of the activities at our Staithes Shed …

[Note. Jim not Gym]

Brian seems deep in prayer for the pew

Brian has done a fantastic job on renovating the pew that has been in the shed for a while.
He has repaired it and waxed it to really highlight the grain and character of the pew.
In the photo you can see Malcolm admiring the result of Brian’s work with Brian looking very proud of the result.
We all wish the pew well in its next chapter of life ….



Health Warning

Malcolm’s project to keep the vampires at bay from Staithes is all going to plan.
The cultivation of garlic is shooting well as you can see in the attached photo.
Well done Malcolm or should we say “Malcolm van Hesling“ for keeping Staithes free of vampires …

Mind the gaps!

The Staithes greenhouse construction is well underway …..the base is down with its damp roof course and the pallet wall is rising from the ground like a Phoenix from the ashes.
We are following (as best as possible) Malcom’s design and so far so good. All of the Shedders have been involved in various stages the construction work so far and it has been a great team  effort.
Hopefully it will not be too long before it is completed.


What does Brian put in his tea?

Brian does not have “that sinking feeling “ …… following the installation of the kitchen units so kindly donated by Howdens in Whitby.
Brian required a small round compact sink to complement his state of the art kitchen……so he ordered the sink and it was duly installed to his satisfaction.
As you can see he appears over the moon with the result. This installation will ensure that he is able to continue to deliver in his role as tea boy / person of the highest order … a service that the rest of us Shedders truly appreciate.
Enjoy the sink Brian.



“Just like that!!

Tommy Cooper without a fez turned up at Whitby Town Shed on Wednesday morning and was confronted with the now familiar array of headless chickens!

This, of course, was a different Tommy Cooper though equally as affable. It transpired he knew Marie and a very useful conversation between the two took place before Graham took him outside into the sun to avoid the NOISE!!!

Tommy, it turned out, was from Whitby Disability Action Group. He was in action and had come to find out what went on at the Shed. A very good question with no easy answer of course. Nobody knows what might be done on a particular day, only what did go on! If we remember.

Tommy is a man of many parts and one of his personal interests is exploring what activities there are for sight-impaired folks. He himself has a yellow tag saying he has sight impairment. So he is a man of knowledge (as indeed DAG is an organisation of useful knowledge!).

We used The Doing Place postcard to illustrate that we have taken a step outside of a purely workshop environment into other things. 

Tommy is a joiner by trade and knows exactly what inclusive banter can achieve on sites in creating team spirit. 

We mentioned Staithes and BayThorpe. There are DAG clients in Staithes area who could be interested in the gardening project. Already Staithes is thinking about the planters to be and that one might be a sensory patch. We might have met a consultant in Tommy.

It is important for all organisations/groups to keep an eye out for what others are up to. Walking across thresholds as Tommy did is a perfect way to do it, as indeed Rob Shilson has been doing in recent weeks aided by other Shedders.

Well, back to Mental Health Week.

It is now nearing the end of the Week. The above shows some of the practical steps that the Sheds are making in our Whitby district patch.  It was interesting for Norton Shed to be at Westminster this week in a shortlist of 4 for the Partnership of the Year. NORMENS submitted its experience with Stockton social prescriber link workers (and particularly Claire Walker). Their urgent need for men’s activities for mental wellness was what launched the Norton Shed way ahead of any intended start.

Working together, peer to peer, professional and voluntary is the kind of prescription that is needed.

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