Ambassadors out and about

Now that restrictions have been easing, our Shed Ambassadors have been getting out and about in their local communities in the name of Men’s Sheds. Here’s what some of them have been up to recently…

In May, Ambassadors Doug Mizon and Alan Page visited a community Shed and gardens in Ipswich run by a charity called Active Lives. ActivSheds | At the Peoples Community Garden | Ipswich (activlives.org.uk)

“Doug and I were both inspired by the welcome and forward-thinking of this charity. They are members of the UKMSA. The gardens are very well managed and organised.

They have a lease on several allotments, a redundant bowls green and a pavilion. The coordinators were paid members of staff. They had a large open area for sitting to discuss work plans and end-of-day reflections, with a spacious kitchen. ActivSheds is sited next to the redundant bowls pavilion.

The Shed members have converted and extended an old shed that was used by the bowls club. The members of the Shed tend to spend most of their time repairing sheds on the allotment site, building raised beds, and any other maintenance work required.

We had an enjoyable few hours, which has left a lasting memory of a successful organisation.”

Ipswich ActiveShed

Alan also recently attended the opening of the Debenham Shed, which has been extended in size from one shipping container to four. Alan is also working with Jonny Wood, Suffolk Shed Coordinator to promote and support a new Shed in the Bury St Edmonds area.

Doug and his Shed (Halesworth Men’s Shed) are also kindly testing out a new product called the Manna Safety Saw. This has been offered to our Ambassadors to test in return for their reviews and feedback and we have a number of Ambassadors having a go.

Halesworth Men’s Shed

This device is to enable children, beginners or more vulnerable people to use a handsaw without any danger of injury when making the initial cuts. We await your feedback Doug and Shedders!

Henry Gowman has been busy with some valuable Shed promotion in the Norfolk area. This has included doing interviews with BBC Radio Norfolk and Henry is currently working with the BBC for another project which I’m not sure I can mention! Henry and his Shed, Poringland Shed, also welcomed a very important guest in the form of the newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner for a talk on Men’s Sheds!

“The visit by Giles Orpen-Smellie was very successful and he was clearly impressed. We discussed the mental health pressures on police officers and I am talking next week with a Police Commander about the possibility of setting up a Police Shed at a redundant boat shed on the River Yare,  downstream from Norwich. It may include a handicraft workshop or it may be for relaxation and water-based activities.” – Henry Gowman

Poringland Police Visit

Allan Clark has been busy up in Yorkshire over the last month or so, supporting Grassington Shed to chat about health and safety, and welcoming other Sheds to the Lion’s Den for visits.

Allan has also been working with a small group in Bingley that are looking to start a Shed and supporting Denholme with a site lease. Allan also welcomed me and new Partnerships Manager David Meli for a visit in August.

We met Allan, Andy Ryland (Development Officer from Yorkshire First) and some of the guys from the Lion’s Den to see their Shed and what they get up to. Allan also took us to the site of their new spin-off Shed in Bracken Bank which is an old chapel building that has been unused for around 40 years.

It was brilliant to see the variety of things happening at Allan’s Shed, from traditional woodworking to growing grapes and looking after Koi Carp and Chilean Degus (desert rodents) and to hear about the work the Lion’s Den does in the local community.

Join us next month to find out what some other Ambassadors have been up to!

Allan and Rachel