It’s nearly twelve months since Church Crookham and Fleet Men’s Shed opened the doors to our purpose-built workshop next to the allotments on the Crookham Park Estate. And what a twelve months! If anyone had said that in six months’ time we’d be closing the doors and the country would be in lockdown, we would have thought that they had put something in their tea, but how true they would have been.
If nothing else, ‘Shedders’ are known for their resilience and so that we could still support some of our members, the main reason we started the Shed, we came up with ‘Project Shield’. This wasn’t only to help support our members it was also to help support our local community, those that have followed us and help us to get where we are today.
“visors have also been distributed to childminders, schools, shops, dentists, hairdressers and private individuals.”
Project Shield was to make full-face visors, an item that was initially in very short supply so that we could distribute with the aid of Hart Voluntary Action (HVA) to our local care workers and care homes. We set up what would have been called a cottage industry, one member set up our 3D printers in his home workshop and started producing the headbands, these were delivered to two other members who did the initial clean-up process, before they were delivered back to the Shed. Visor material was purchased and this was distributed to two other members who carried out the shaping and hole-punching, again before they went back to the Shed.
At the Shed, we allowed three or four members who, with a bit of bench moving and with masks and gloves, were able to social distance correctly. These members carried out the sanitising, bagging and packaging process ready for delivery. Completed visors were collected by HVA and distributed as required.
Whilst all this was going on a team of wives and daughters, were contacting all the local care homes and workers to establish who needed what.
The project ran for 12 weeks and in that time produced 1624 visors and delivered to 127 different customers. Whilst we originally set out to help care workers and care homes, over time this changed and visors have also been distributed to childminders, schools, shops, dentists, hairdressers and private individuals. We still have some available and are able to make more if the need arises.
“The project ran for 12 weeks and in that time produced 1624 visors and delivered to 127 different customers”
At the start, we decided that this would be a stand-alone project and that all donations towards the cost of materials would be used for COVID related causes and therefore it was a pleasure to be able to donate a small sum to HVA for their use to this end.
The shutdown has also given us the opportunity to do a few things around our site. We have now completed our patio area and have started on the cladding of the storage container and toilet. A full sort out and tidy of the workshop has been undertaken and we were able to reopen to our members on 3rd August, albeit in a very different format than before.
Want to know more about what we get up to at ‘the Shed’? Please take a look at our website www.ccandfmensshed.org.uk