Sheds at Work Deepening Community Wellbeing

First up, a big cheque but even bigger hearts

BayThorpe Shed takes and gives! You can see the giving side in these two photos. Money presented to the Air Ambulance cause!

Yes, £1000

They arrived by van, not air ambulance.










So, where does the taking come in? Or more accurately the takings come in. Robin Hood’s Bay is a mecca for tourists for much of the year. Parking at weekends is at a premium and the Shed has operated a couple of car parks permitted by two local organisations. Shed puts in the effort and take a good share of the takings. 

However, rather than spending money on gold taps, they give away tiding sums to good causes like local schools and the Air Ambulance. What a fabulous win-win-win for all concerned.

They’ve done some intriguing work over the past 5 years including the penny farthing bike and the playpark galleon rnovation. 

All done for Bay and Thorpe communities and the local businesses too. 

A not dissimilar thing at Staithes Shed

It’s the giveaway of time to provide the infrastructure for a growing project next to the Shed. The idea is to provide facilities for a Garden Shed alongside the Shed and the Garden Club (who provide an allotment shop on a Saturday morning).

It is supported by a grant of £1000 from thew Woodsmith Foundation.

Avid readers will know from previous blogs that this is underway and the construction approach and some of the materials are on site. 

It is about ccommunity well being as well as personal well being. It is an opportunity for people to join in and make growing together work. To bring smiles to faces!

This is a new promotional postcard that has just been printed. 

At both BayThorpe and Staithes Sheds there are ideas to facilitate new activities that are Shed-like in their camaraderie but cater for those whose preference is not to bang nails into wood 

Such projects are not meetings, but meeting places!





Meanwhile at Whitby Town Shed

The same kind of thing is going on in a project funded through NYCC Stronger Communities to combat the risk of suicide. 

It is the concept of the department store with with different things run by different teams at the same time. Overcoming any problems of caretaking really but also promoting relationships and friendships of people with different interests.

Here is the postcard again.

One of the ideas soon to be trialled (and looked at 4 years ago in fact) is a repair activity “Let’s Mend It!”.

As a taster of the kind of thing that might be done (there are surely thousands:-)) is a broken caravan window strut. 

A plastic connection piece snapped and (eventually) Graham set to repairing it, initially with some Strong Gorilla glue. It did not seem to work. The glue would not harden. 

Attempt number 2 (successful) was to fabricate a metal connector from a fastening. 

The broken connector

The glue.

A flattened metal corner piece shaped and trimmed, and a couple of washers did the trick. Some glue was later added!













Recently, the Norton Shed received a massive in-kind donation of tools, equipment and bits&bobs of all kinds.

Among the hoard there was a bag of plastic tools (about 15 different kinds) for removing car trim without damaging bodywork.

Repairing car parts (Graham did a wing mirror a while back that seemed to be in a terminal state. Glue, filler, sanding and can spraying brought it back to look as new. 

What you do need for repair work is all the little nuts and bolts that can be needed for a repair. The old cake tin to rummage through.

We also understand that a repair club is being planned for Sleights. 




A Community Example from Norton Shed

The Social Prescriber, Gary, the Painter and the newly established volunteer run FIBRO charity itself reaching into local community building!

We had a request from Norton Social Prescriber Claire a few weeks ago to help a new charity starting up in premises in Stockton.  It was a painting job. Who do you think came to mind? .

Gary was an early founding member of Norton Men;s Shed.  He was just the man to help the Shed start because we had no premises and started up in the Cricket Pavilion at Norton Sports Charity. We decorated it internally.

Gary eventually moved on and we kept a little in touch. So when the need to help decorate the premises of Fibro arrived, Gary was the man to contact. And he agreed!

Meeting Gary again today and working with him revealed that Gary was a little different to the Gary we knew a year ago. He’s in a much happier place these days and enjoyed helping out.

Gary will have a bit of time off soon and promises to come down to the Shed to see the Shed of 2023!

Gary is the figure in the corner

Angela checking it’s right! 










Some of the community team at the premises.



In summary . . . .

Angels founded FIBRO to support Stockton sufferers, including herself, in mid 2022. She needed somewhere to work from and in early March 2023 she received the keys to a community building that had been unused for several years. She could not use the entire premises for FIBRO so she was joined by a men’s mental health support group.Together they attracted and mobilised local residents to make the building work for the community in social ways. They are finalising their plans to establish a community shop based on a model they have seen elsewhere.

This project is inspirational, even to a couple of Shedders like Gary and Graham.

THANKS TO SOCIAL  PRESCRIBER CLAIRE WALKER of Norton Medical Centre who p[ut our two organisations in touch. Graham was at the Medical Centre for an appointment and met Claire today to catch up on the day before. Along came one of her Friday Walking Group members. Hop, step and jump it looks like he will come to Normens very soon.

It;s amazing when people are in touch and willing to work together!

Now, to hopefully not embarrass Angela of FIBRO

Graham asked Angela why she thought the Shedders had come!  She thought and said that it might be to make more people aware of the Shed.

No, said Graham, it was because Claire Walker asked.

It’s what happens when trust is built between people.  Claire helped greatly in establishing the Shed because she originally made clear how important it would be for some of her male clients needing to reconnect. Claire and some of her colleagues. Her encouragement was very important when starting from scratch. It was time to pay her back by helping someone else get started. Just a few hours of painting.

It’s the way community is made stronger in Norton, Whitby district and the big wide world.

The need for Shed-type activities is evident and are in UK as well as native Oz being recognised for their outcomes and “people repair” work.

What are Shed-type activities?  What are their characteristics? What difference is there to a hobby club?

This is Graham’s list of distinctive features and would welcome the thoughts of other Shedders (or non-Shedders):

  • It is a place for “doing” (as much as an individual can physically and/or mentally)
  • Doing work on something (a walking stick say) changes it from one state to another. Tools are used and skills. At the Sheds the important things worked on are the people who come. The tools are interaction with others and the magic tool of banter plus the resource of caring about others.
  • A Shed-like activity distracts from what may have been going on in the restless mind overnight. Doing is a form of rrest.
  • A Shed looks inward to help one another – certainly in the formative stage) but ultimately Sheds begin to make relationships with other organisations of good will and community cohesion (sticking together where you are) begins to be a further product from Shed-like work.  It’s the discovery of the responsibility to be a part od the bigger picture of “doing good”. 
  • People develop in confidence and so do Sheds as an integrated body. What has been seen over the seven years of Whitby district Sheds is the way they have reached out and become a well respected community contribution. 
  • Shed-like activities are families of non-blood relatives. Who act out many small but powerful examples of compassion. Rob’s Prostate Cancer Support Group plans are one such example. The Whitby Shed encourages Rob in this and Bryn too in his keenness to support men’s mental health.
  • Shed-like activities have big vision rooted in practicality. There is a huge source of brain and brawn that are the big resources.
  • Shed-type activities are flat structures. No great hierarchies. Dependent on those who come to shape it and direct it by concensus.
  • Shed-type activities have mem,bers who give and take dependent on their abilities and their needs..  We just want everyone to say that it was good to go to the Shed that day. That’s wellbeing.

A Postscript from BayThorpe Shed

This weekend.

How often have we heard this sentiment expressed by a Shedder? Here it is in black and white. 

A Postscript from Rob at Whitby Shed

Rob has, of course just been through a course of treatment for prostate cancer. He sailed through it over the fortnight. However, he was warned that there might be some delayed impact and that is the case. However, he is still very committed to setting up a Prostate Cancer Support Group in Whitby and to the Wednesday Shed/The Doing Place.

At challenging times we often reflect on deeper issues. Rob saw the “Shed-like” list above and it caused him to write about his feelings about the Whitby Shed and how he feels supported.

Reading through the excellent ‘points’ article caused me to reflect on last weeks shed session and explore the emotions raised.

I arrived feeling a bit rough but was immediately comforted with caresupport and concern by many. I felt that bond that we speak of. A little less active than usual I spent quite a lot of time at the table.

Katy started with her table refurb and as the morning progressed I observed her confidence and pride in what she was doing. It was an example of the more one puts in the more one gets out. I spoke with newcomer Geoff and was pleased to see him settling in. He so enjoys the company.

Elaine (M) called by and was very interested in the prostate support angle.
Then Rory arrived to discuss his ideas for Sleights, so encouraging that we are being seen as a positive force for Whitby and beyond.

Tony and I compared notes and accepted that we are on the same journey, empathy and compassion in action. We also remembered Meccano.

A lot happened in a short time, a very positive experience and I left feeling a lot brighter.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to call the morning a healing experience.

What are your reflections other Shedders?

A postscript from Graham

Graham had his cataract procedure yesterday and it was an amazing experience. No pain and transformatioinal asa regards colours through his left eye. White is white!

Rob mentioned Geoff in his piece. Geoff has been transformed by just being with others. That is a common feature of Shed (and Shed-like!) activities. Just letting people belong.

It is very similar indeed to what Graham has found with his eye op. Pretty sudden outcome:-)


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