In talking to various people, Sheds, and organisations, we have found our present situation is not unique and that several Men’s Sheds have gone through similar experiences – finding themselves, as we are, HOMELESS – without premises.
Fraserburgh & District Men’s Shed was first thought about by our past Chair about two and a half years ago. We duly became a Scottish registered charity (OCSR) in July 2019. After a lot of looking, we found a Shed/workshop that was the local Sea and Royal Marine workshop where they stored several static engines (Lister type, that was used to explain the workings of the internal combustible engine) oars, ropes and general sea-faring items.
The workshop was thought to be ample for our needs, although it was no bigger than a large single garage! Also, the cadets gave us access to their deck, galley, heads (hall, kitchen, and toilets). It was agreed – for a reasonable rent and work and renovations to the property in lieu of rent – that the Men’s Shed would have access Monday mornings 1000 -1400 Wednesday mornings 1000-1400 and Wednesday evenings 1800-2100. This was now Summer 2019 we know that finding suitable premises in a fairly short time, mainly down to our past Chair was lucky.
Our membership rose from a handful of interested people to over 60 and between four to ten regular members attending either just for a cup of tea, coffee and the indispensable (although sometimes soggy) biscuits, and maybe do a bit of work in ‘the Shed’. Some members or would-be attendees were put off by the lack of room/workspace, but we did have a decent shared hard area outside.
Then Covid-19 struck in March 2020 and the cadets governing body promptly closed all access to their premises, which is the same as all other Shed premises.
We had been in consultation with Aberdeenshire Council (our local council) about taking over a redundant council depot /workshops, a much larger premises with easier pedestrian access, but were not successful.
This year the harbour, where the cadets are situated, became busy through a large offshore wind farm being located on the north of Fraserburgh coast, more or less reaching as far as Inverness. With both sea vessels and road traffic coming and going it made access for both the cadets and ourselves dangerous and unsafe.
The Harbour Board had always wanted the space the cadets were located for redevelopment and the area was now becoming unsafe to non-harbour traffic and pedestrians. The sea cadet building required a lot of building and remedial work through age and a year’s inactivity. The decision, although not taken lightly as the cadets had, had a presence since before the war in and around the quay of the harbour, was taken to give the cadets notice to quit, making both ourselves and the cadets homeless.
If your Shed is struggling for premises–do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org