Never a dull day

The strange thing about Shed days is that they are always full of surprises. Things never go to plan (assuming sometimes there is one!). We are certainly kept on our toes.

We start the week on last Sunday at a celebration for the voluntary sector held at Whitby Rugby Club. 

This is the Event Shelter shared by the 3 Whitby Sheds and Norton Shed. It worked well as a container for the Tent Shed with some displays of different crafts and a display board with photographs.

We flew the Whitby Town Shed flag too. Pity the wind blew from right to left!


Katy came. Her table (not in the picture) was on display.

One of Marie’s C&G pieces we think represents a pizza!

Embroidery piece based on David Hockney.











This adds to the life-size warhorse and Labrador dog for Norton Sports Charity’s Remembrance Service later this year.

A Peep into Norton Shed

There’s an awful lot going on in Whitby Sheds but also over in Norton. 

Here is the latest blog.


Every Shedder will be labelled.

It seems to be a valid word meaning to keep an inventory of what we have. We have just purchased for the Doing Project and our Sheds a small label printer that can generate bar codes as well as showing text and date.

Graham let Marie and Rob know (its part of maintaining a library of things) and Rob returned with this. Apologies everyone.

I switched the labels on all my wife’s spices.
I’m not in trouble yet, but the thyme is cumin.

May he be forgiven by us and his wife!

Staithes Shed and a secret visit to photograph

The primary reason for Graham to visit early Saturday afternoon was to return to Brian a couple of objects that had been borrowed for the previous Sunday’s Rugby Club marketplace of voluntary sector contributions to Whitby district.

However, Graham went to the Shed to take some photos of the bang up to date status of the greenhouse. He took some photos and of the cricket BUT on Saturday evening Graham realised he had some great photos of himself and not a greenhouse. The phrase “stupid boy” springs to mind!

One of two lamp bases Brian turned from a piece of wood from Scotland

Cricket at Staithes













A very pleasing promotional development in Staithes 

A couple of months ago Staithes Shed approached the adjacent medical practice requesting top mount a banner of their metal fence right at the entrance to the Sports complex.

Last week Brian was approached as he walked down the road (or somewhere) by the Practice Manager who informed him that the Doctors approved of the plan. It will, we hope, be a win-win because both “organisations” are in the health game!

Polish Scout Leaders Ride into Whitby Town

5 leaders from the Polish Scouting Association stayed in Whitby on Saturday night at Eskmouth Scout Hall. On Sunday night they are in Norton staying with 1st Norton troop (Graham’s son & daughter-in-law are leaders there).

These Scouts are cycling from Paris to Edinburgh as a leg in an extensive bike ride relay that started in Kazakhstan. Follow some links to find out more (there’s much more published in Polish).

Far from being a Cub Pack!

Stretches right across the cyclist’s chest












An exploded view of a chest!

Another rich thread in Shed/Whitby Scouting life.

Whitby Town Shed to get their heads down on the toilets

Remember these? But fear not, they are not our way forward!

The Scouts are covering the material costs (and new gold plated taps NOT) and the Doing Place will provide the labour. The toilets have needed a makeover for a while – particularly the gents –  and the Shedders like a manageable challenge. We’ve discussed it on and off again recently and it was a sudden offer by Shedder Karen to roll up her own sleeves with a roller that led to the decision to ask the “landlord” if we could do it.  Karen also led with the comment that she’s even do some cleaning of said places to keep them up to scratch.

With the Polish Scout pedal bikers arriving Joan and Betty (more than Graham) cleaned the toilets and kitchen  on Saturday afternoon with the Shed having done a good clean of the Shed floor for the Scouts to sleep on.

Graham explored the plumbing and realised that, left to run, hot water did reach the toilet sinks from the kitchen boiler. Water ran to the shower but the electrics are not connected, as was expected (but worth a try!). Nevertheless, the shower tray was cleaned just in case the hardy Polish bikers might welcome a cold dip!

Actually, the prospect of “doing” this project/exercise is something of a tonic. If other Sheds including Norton Men’s Shed want to send workers for a joint day it would be a very welcome gesture and a gathering with a purpose.

Just a snippet from the Shed in the other place

Norton Shed has got the go ahead with finance provided for materials to do “Anthony’s Big Garden Dream” which consists of levelling up his garden with a large raised deck and then building a Man Cave for him. 

Materials about to be ordered. To see the story look here

The Doing Place Library of Things

As part of The Doing Place’s outreach to Whitby folk wanting to combat issues of isolation and loneliness, we are well on with creating an online resource that will be publicly accessible. It has three purposes:

  1. To be an inventory of “doing” equipment and resources that Whitby Town Shed/The Doing Place has. Moreover (and thanks in part again to Howden’s Joinery in Whitby) we should know where it is located for us to find. As part of a funding bid recently submitted we want to add add to the equipment also and we need “standard” sized boxes that can hold “stuff”. 
    We have a procured a label printer capable of printing bar codes for boxes, pigeon holes and shelves. We borrowed the idea from supermarkets!
  2. For Joe Public to know what we have and what they might try as individuals or in a friends’ group. We will be able to keep track on who has the assets because it will be possible in due course (as part of the elaborate computerised system) to lend out items to
    1. Those who attend to carry on things at home (provided there is a good reason!)
    2. For any shut in like Shedder Colin at Whitby Court Care Home. He might like a loom . . . .
  3. Provide interest and ownership of aspects of the Doing Place. Yes, librarians who can even work from home on this. Will it work? Never know till we try but it is just and incremental couple of steps on the path we’ve been plotting along with the Krampus Krew who will continue to help with the Shed in joint oversight.

Image result for power BIThe software used for this was acquired, trained in, and employed to create a map based system accessible on mobile phones for a separate purpose a year ago. It is licensed software that allows it to be freely available for folks to enquire on (but not to willy-nilly change!). There may be a nerd or two who might like to play with the software for other applications (or help in this one!). Essentially it uses the  Microsoft technology that underlies their familiar applications and particularly Excel.

The BI is Business Integration and the voluntary sector is in business:-)

Illustration of “Where do we find Asset A4, Rag Rugging?” 

The Library of Things will be accessible by mobile phone, enabling anyone see things to do whether or not they choose to approach the Doing Place. Maybe there should be a Power BI table group! The scope of the Doing Place is as wide as the imagination and we are more than happy to help such projects set up in other areas of North Yorkshire (or on Teessside :-))

Helping further evolution of this kind of Business Integration technology to help Whitby’s “Community Business” might appeal to a young person with some experience of programming. Something under the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme? A senior school club? If this wider community step is something of interest, please contact Graham 07763 656627. Particularly want to hear from you if you are retired or part time employed with programming skills who would be prepared to pass on your local skills to “next generation” local youngsters.

Of course, there are no guarantees of success but doing things together builds a strong foundation.

Sheds are now nearing 8 years since they started in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council Stronger Communities Team and the NYCC Whitby Living Well Team. It is now 10 years since the UK Men’s Shed Association was founded so we’ve developed a long way alongside them also really. There is a new Stockton Men’s Shed just funded by a trust that Graham has helped  in his Northern Shed Ambassador role. We need more initiatives at the grass roots everywhere. It’s part of community rebuilding for people that many small groups are doing with people, for people and not to people!

It has been and is an exciting adventure for many once they catch the spirit of the needs there are everywhere.

And so to re-echo the phrase we started with, “The strange thing about Shed days is that they are always full of surprises.”

We would welcome help with Whitby Doing Place as it evolves

Free Help Wanted Cliparts, Download Free Help Wanted Cliparts png ...Not necessarily with skills to help with specific activities BUT to be “givers of time” to help those who come along on a Wednesday morning and appreciate any help that can be given by “care takers” helping people fit in and get on with the “doing”. It is what Shedders do in their Sheds but the same thing is needed for the Doing Place.

Speak to Rob, Marie, Krampus, Betty, Graham or anyone you come across who knows something about this! The role does not require involvement every week but clearly requires a bit of regular commitment to helping people to gain greater independence. 

Send an email to Rob Shilson  or Graham Storer



Today (Wednesday) we hope to talk to Big Col in Whitby Court Care home

This was “on screen”

He has a face-to-face many Wednesdays after lunch and he injects his views into life. To say the least, the broadband that Whitby Town Shed had reinstalled is far from satisfactory as it was previously. The problem seems to be the infrastructure that Whitby district struggles with, namely a dependency on telegraph poles! 

We are about to cancel the contract we have,  There is a distinct feeling that we (and we imagine others) are being “ripped off” by promises from suppliers who are dependent on infrastructure provided by OpenReach.

For Colin, it will involve a mobile phone at our end with a human being holding it. 

Colin is very dependent (as the Dalesmen Singers and other local small charities in Whitby District like the Shed also know) on technology that he has worked hard to conquer personally. We have worked hard to keep Colin involved in life beyond his four walls.  His Care Home has a very good feel to it that the staff make. Staff from a distance in other continents upon whom Colin relies and are an immediate family for him – a family that Colin tries to help himself. There is a peer-to-peer relationship between Colin and staff. Colin realises that he must do all he can for himself which is why he is such an encouraging example of personal responsibility. He always asks about the Sheds and has taken great interest in what is being done in Norton-on-Tees too.

There are technical difficulties (like making sure his devices are charged up when his physical condition can make that difficult sometimes. But he is first to acknowledge his personal difficulties with the thing we all suffer from – age. Colin (and Graham) are prone to resting our eyes whilst being fully alert of course!

We thank Aiden at the Shed for his efforts and technical skills to try to resolve issues but we live in an era when customers are not always right when large, online operated, businesses are involved.  A problem is that they see two types of customer – business and domestic. Their expectation seems to be that any customer’s premises are accessible when convenient to the supplier.

Small, voluntary charities do not live in the premises we use. Nor does a landlord like the Scouts!

Can we do it? Yes, Colin, we can!!!!

New regimes

Graham is fortunate to see two authorities at work – North Yorkshire Council (very new unitary authority) and Stockton Borough Council. Fortunate because often interpretation of the signs of the times is needed and having involvement with two independent authority streams (and bodies like UK Men’s Shed Association) fills in some gaps of knowledge important to a sustainable future (Wow, what fine words!!)

There is then the overarching UK Government, of course.

The Dharma of Collaboration | Indic Civilizational Portal

This emphasises people. People make things work. People in organisations make things work.

We all know the financial challenges that authorities face (including the NHS of course) and it is clear that money is very tight indeed. Just like Colin above, it is incumbent on us all in the voluntary sector and our “clients” to do as much as we can ourselves. Sheds are, of course, founded on that principle and it is the secret of their success. 

There is a myriad of organisations in the “agencies” sector that may have meaning to each other but are very difficult to understand their fit and overlap. It’s true also of the voluntary sector itself, of course.

The challenge Sheds face (and like voluntary projects) is to get engaged 1) with each other and 2) with the agencies. We are responsible for what we do individually but we ought not to operate with tunnel vision in silos (to mix metaphors) but realise that spending some time on collaboration  (even ad hoc) is in  our “members” best interests. 

Preaching over!

Wednesday at Whitby

Ten present at the Shed and a new man arrived out of the blue but recommended by NYC Living Well team.  He cycled in from Newholme and is a carer for his wife. It is some “him time” that is needed. He is another Graham but don’t yet panic.

You’ll see him with broom in hand because we believe in starting people om the very bottom rung of the ladder and if possible below that! John the onion man was there. He knows his onions of course. We made very good progress with rearranging the Shed and somehow we gained a lot of new usable space.

Graham on the bottom rung.

John with his onion trophy

The title of this photograph is “A study in enthusiasm”.

The woodstore on wheels was rolled into position behind Ray.

Marie with laser focus

A slideway’s look at Bryn

A new bench on right hand side and wood store on left. Exciting days. Tony rigged up a new saw table extractor.















































Marie sent an email about her reaction to Wednesday morning

About this morning at the Shed, 
At the shed this morning we had a visitor called Graham, he had been recommended to come and see what we do & what we have to offer. We welcomed him & offered him a cuppa. He joined in with re-arranging cupboards and tools etc.
While talking to him soon after he arrived, he said he was worried he wouldn’t fit in. I found myself saying that “if he didn’t have airs and graces he’d fit in perfectly – we accept everyone warts and all”.
I hope he enjoyed his morning with us and calls again soon,

Thanks Marie. Graham no. 2 did enjoy it despite one of our most chaotic days! He shook our hands warmly as he left. Later we discovered it was NYC Living Well Team who had given him our details. A win-win-win hopefully for us all.

Leo at BayThorpe Shed


Leo is doing the precision wood cutting for the CNC router at BayThorpe Shed with Steve and Lance from there. Brilliant!

An extract from Norton Shed

At a Shed this morning. It is Radio Stitch which operates using premises underground at North Tees Hospital!

Cavalry Kevin and Graham went to see Radio Stitch who Graham came across in conversation at the Armed Forces Day in Stockton recently. It was a staggering visit because we saw the commitment of a team of volunteers who share 100% the ethos of Norton Men’s Shed. They are a Shed or maybe we are a Radio Station and we don’t know it.

Congratulations Elliott and the team that work (yes, work but as volunteers) with him on something truly inspirational. Just like the Shed, there are personal stories of members of the team as to why they volunteer for this important “service”

It was, we hope, the first of more sessions that connect our and their objectives and indeed other voluntary groups. Already we can see the possibilities there are in Whitby district Sheds as well as Norton Shed.

Sounds Creative at Whitby Doing Place has already been contacted . . . .  This is an idea that could spread intergenerationally which was evident at Radio Stitch. They work with small groups of young people to prepare running schedules. Added educational value. 










































































































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