Get off the screen and get on with something!

The great thing about Sheds is that people have time to go there and that attendance is entirely voluntary. They go because in one way or another they know that spending time with others in a creative environment is either preventive or restorative for their wellbeing, commonly mental health. 

We were not created to be like battery hens in caged isolation on one set task. Increasingly, homeworking is the norm in many areas of work. Ring up a travel or insurance company and it is quite likely you will be speaking to an “at home” advisor. For some, that is a perfect solution and welcome because of their situation. Technology has enabled that. For others it becomes quickly a curse. Why? Because they miss the face to face and a degree of the discipline that comes from working together.

Screen time (or phone time) is not all that it is cracked up to be. It is both good and bad. The word moderation springs to mind.

Well, this blog will focus on the creativity that some screen time can provide. Not just filling time for an individual but using time to benefit an individual and others.

We start with Malcolm at Staithes Shed!

He is an avid YouTuber. He sees, ponders, adapts, ponders again and releases to our little Staithes Shed world useful novelty. Staithes Shedders know what that means.

Here is his latest inspiration culled from the internet in an email. 

Morning all,
Dekay’s Crafts on YouTube. I have a portable table saw at home which is on a stand I recobbled together, too bulky, impractical. Once we get the Greenhouse finished, I intend having a go at the following made by Dekay’s Crafts.
Dekay is very inventive. Apart from the table saw stand, he’s made all sorts on practical items for the workshop and elsewhere. If you’ve got some spare time, take a browse through his video library. Another useful video of his, is a folding box for the back of the car which can be turned into a bench.
We all know how to cut a bit of wood, so he spares us most of the noise and watching him use a saw.
Expandable TableSaw workbench for tiny shop / woodworking – YouTube
Unique small kitchen Idea! for tiny space / folding box for car camping / woodworking is awesome =) – YouTube

The good thing about ideas is that they can travel, take up no space and can are adaptable. Thus some of what Malcolm has sent this week is stored in the head of Graham for Norton Shed to apply in a project for a Man Cave for a person with learning difficulties (well 3 person capacity in total). Space will be at a premium but the discipline of having restricted space demands “micro” thinking.

Next up, Colin in his Whitby Court Care Home Shed Annexe. 

A frame from one of his interviews. Showing us the door maybe.

Colin needs screen time. Needs MORE screen time. Because of his situation. 

Daily he sees staff face-to-face who care for him and others in the home. Within the limits of their time, they are very friendly, from different backgrounds, both genders and part of a team that is a bit like an adopted family for the residents and for each other. Men (and women) know the bonding that can come from being part of something that is business but heart. 

In most other respects, other than visitors, Colin depends on the mobile phone and the tablet (not the kind to swallow) to meet friends and family. He mastered the technology pretty well to be able to see and talk with his wife, family and misfits like Shedders and Dalesmen.

At present his phone battery has disintegrated and he is awaiting a replacement. He loves to talk seriously and join in banter. Get a prescription for more screen time. (the care home has quite a good broadband connection).

This might be re-used outside Colin’s room!

Colin e-support is a great encouragement to him and that leads him to encourage some of the other residents at meal times and in social times. Take and Give.

DALESMEN Gala Evening in October is a date to note. Colin will – hell or high water – will be there. Period. Connected to Dalesmen is the work we reported recently with Colin to get snapshots from him and others of his life “My Story, My Song”. That’s another aspect that involves Zoom and screen time for Colin and others subsequently editing footage.



Sounds Creative

At Whitby Town Shed/The Doing Place Bryn, Aiden and Leo spend time in the kitchen not making coffee but bent over computer screens connected to various electronic gadgetry that flashes different colours and produces sounds from speakers. 

They would say that this beats hammering nails into wood but they will join in that too (probably to vent their frustrations – creative people do things like that!)

DIYers of the older generation are slowly realising that Sheds are doing places for many different types of activities that were never in our repertoire in the first half of our lives!

Whatever we do, we can beneficially become absorbed in it but should not become damagingly addicted to it!

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.


Versatile Whitby Town Shed

New Shedder John came with the idea of making Onion Awards for a club he belongs to. Here is his first attempt on the lathe. 

John needed a big onion too. Here he has glued some oak together to make a block to turn next week. Great to see the lathe in use again.

Michael was a regular with Jill his supporter at SAMS in Littlebeck. 

Marie was busy on her embroidery work for her C&G assignment. Happy to be at the Shed again and to meet Jill again. Note the biscuits.


Tony unexpectedly declared that the mobile wood rack was finished. Unbelievable. It was not even to be French polished! Even Ray thought he had misheard Tony.

Meanwhile Graham made a late morning item for a sight impaired lady in Norton. A stand for dominos. He was then off to see Big Col at Whitby Court Care Home. Colin was on good form, studying some ducks from the window of the upstairs dining room. Graham played a video of the edited interview that the they helped by Bryn had done the following week.

Two highlights of the morning were to see John really settling into the group and to see Michael excited by the Meccano which is ideal for him. His hands are a bit shaky at times so working with anything sharp or rotating is something risky but Meccano is ideal. He has a good mind and a great sense of humour. Maybe Rob has a mate to play Meccano with!!!!

Topping the morning was an unexpected visit from a person with a very famous name.

“Just like that!!

All images

Not this one. But still a fun guy to meet!!

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.

Westminster destination for Norton Shed

Railway Dave (been to Whitby Shed) accompanied Graham

Hosted by Baroness Tammy Grey Thompson. This is Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP

We were at the House of Lords in an event room overlooking the Thames

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.

NORMENS did not hit the top spot, but it was quite a surprise that the Shed reached the final at the end of only its first year.

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


Dirty Dusting – not about Sheds

On SUNDAY, MONDAY & TUESDAY evenings at the Pavilion

Whitby Town Shed is very grateful for support we are getting from Whitby Amateur Dramatic Society. We appreciate having Karen and son Leo at the Shed and for the contribution they both make to the Shed family. 

A part of the ticket proceeds and of a raffle will be donated to the Shed. 

There is no truth in any rumour that the play is based on any goings on at Whitby Shed! 

We are allowed to get a little excited about BayThorpe Shed

Green traffic light - Martyn Goddard ImagesBecause a green light  has been given in principle by Scarborough District Scouts (owners of the Scout Hut used by the Shed), with Fylingdales Village Hall who own the land on which the hut stands and BayThorpe Shed that the building is to be transferred to a form of ownership by the Shed with a new negotiated ground lease with the Village Hall.

The aim is for the premises to continue to be used primarily by the Shed but also by other groups and interests locally that are of the “Doing Sort”.

It will be a purchase from the Scouts.

Thanks to North Yorkshire County Council for originally funding the start up of BayThorpe Shed under a fund to improve particularly people’s mental health and reduce the risk of suicide. Without that and ongoing encouragement by NYCC, the Shed would have been far less likely to happen. Plus the Scouts who trusted BayThorpe Shed to be good care takers of the premises. 

More on this as formalities progress.



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