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Shed those cares and woes – join us!

When the face of the green movement is young, female and Swedish, it is inspiring to see that a group of middle-aged English men and women are doing their bit for the environment, perhaps with just a little less publicity.  But the Alresford Men’s Shed is more than just an environmental initiative, it provides vital support to the community.

The Men’s Shed movement originated in Australia but is growing rapidly across the globe.  In England alone there are over 800 Men’s Sheds and more are opening all the time.  The Alresford Men’s Shed has been running for over four years.  In that time, it has established premises and equipment to enable it to work on well over 400 repairs and projects to extend the lives of machinery, repurpose articles, create useful items for the community and bring together members to work in a collegial and friendly environment.  The Alresford Men’s Shed welcomes anyone, retired or working, male or female, old or young and promotes a strong message against the modern throwaway culture.  In a way, it is spearheading a quiet revolution.  

The Shedders also put their skills to use in community projects, such as designing and building a water wall for Cheriton Playgroup, Remembrance Poppy Frames for St John’s Church Tower, and constructing Church & Public Notice Boards. Items are often repurposed for the community which would otherwise be destined for landfill.  

At its core the Men’s Shed provides an opportunity for people to get together to work with their hands, but that is to oversimplify its value to the community.  Known as ‘Shedders’ the people who work on the projects have a variety of reasons for doing so.  One Shedder told me “following the unexpected death of my wife joining the shed has been wonderful for me… The shed has become an important part of my life, it has helped so much in me coming to terms with what happened and provided great company at a difficult time in my life.”   And they are not all men, two years ago the Shed welcomed its first female Shedder who says about her time in the Shed everyone helps each other. It is an open exchange between all of us to find solutions to fix everyday little problems. We learn, we share, we laugh. It is a welcoming environment and around a cup of tea, we talk about everything, and stay in touch with what is happening in our town”.  

As we all move to more sustainable ways of living the Men’s Shed would like to welcome more Shedders to its ranks, and not just for woodwork.  The Shed welcomes anyone skilled in DIY, IT, Electrics, Welding, Painting, or even the ability to sell on Facebook, Gumtree, or Ebay. You can simply bring things in and repair them in a sociable atmosphere.  Why not drop in on a weekday morning and see how the Shed functions and have a cup of tea?  You don’t have to commit, come for a week or two and give it a try.  Now that we are finally emerging from the restrictions of the pandemic, it’s a great opportunity to get back out into the community and meet like-minded people.

The Men’s Shed also wants to encourage more Shed supporters who can help the Shed by identifying potential community projects and by promoting the initiative more widely.   This will enable the Shed to take on more upcycling and repurposing projects, both for the community and individuals in the area.

The Men’s Shed is currently housed in a disused factory facility in the Dean which is earmarked for demolition to make way for the new car park.  The Shed is a charity that relies on fundraising to enable it to secure new premises in the town.  Please drop in at the Shed, email alresfordmenshed@gmail.com or follow facebook.com/AlresfordMensShed/ to support this quiet green revolution in our community.

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Shed members help build St John’s Christmas crib

The Alresford Men’s Shed were delighted to help St John’s Church in Alresford bring a little better spirit of Christmas to the town and the Churchyard path last month, with four of them creating and building a full sized crib and stable at the North entrance. Organised by Peter Tudor, the redundant garage from Howard Bagley was reconstructed into the stable by Shed members Keith Brickwood, Bill Bailey and Jim Scott. These guys dealt with the erection, and the disassembly in January, having made the design in a kit like form. The crib was even better when seen at night, with very effective lighting inside: but the photo is a daytime shot.

A similar task was undertaken in the Shed for East Stratton Church, by Jim Scott, who has also renewed their noticeboards and “No parking” signs. For East Stratton the crib was a smaller design, and assembled inside the Church: it is also easily dismantled for storage, to be used again next year.

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Shed re-opening after Covid! Standard opening hours….

The Alresford Men’s Shed stopped operations during the lockdown in Summer 2020, and since then have been carefully modifying operations and opening hours. Our regular advertised sessions, when people can drop in, were suspended up to 2nd November 2020, re-opened, only to be forced to shut down once more on 5th November! During Summer 2021 the Shed re-opened once again, and from November 2021 the opening hours for public access have been increased to be 10 a.m. to 12.30 every weekday morning, Monday to Friday. We hope this will be our future opening pattern.

Most of our members are over 50, some by a long way! Several are shielding, or consider themselves vulnerable, and have decided to stay at home at present.  However the Shed is open to Shed members at any time, as long as there are two people present, to ensure their personal safety.

Several members are continuing their own projects, or undertaking some repair jobs, at home, when this is considered possible. To do this they do make occasional visits to the premises, to collect or return various items of equipment or tools that might be required, on loan from the Shed. This is how the Shed has been carrying out the occasional job during this difficult period.

The mobility equipment stored in the Shed for the Pigs is still available for recycling around the community, by arrangement. Please make initial contact direct to the Alresford Pigs.

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Resale items

The following items are offered for sale to raise funds for the Shed. For further info please email via the website. These units are not necessarily held at the Shed, because of space limitations.

BENCH SEAT / SIDE TABLE…  £20

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DSC07714Suitable for a bedroom or lounge, this unit is in black leather effect material, and is on two levels. At the base is a shelf for magazines, or a hifi system even. The top level has two square sections set into the recessed top. The two separate units are double sided, and can present either a cushioned top, for seating, or a tray that provides a table top. The unit was bought from TK Max and has a fire cert label.

Dimensions 18” x 34”, 19” high

NB: This unit has now been relocated to the dump, ie Alresford Recycling Centre, Prospect Road on 2 Feb: probably now much cheaper! But we couldn’t store it any more – too many jobs on!

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Pictures from Watercress Day 2019

The Alresford Men’s Shed were delighted to attend the Watercress Festival this year, courtesy of Alresford Rotary, and were able to sell some of their surplus woodworking achievements to the visitors. Mainly the idea was to attract new members, since our stay in the Dean factory seems to be assured for another year.

In a crowded event, we hope some of the kids, and parents, enjoyed being able to take part in our vertical ball rolling competition! Some of those involved are pictured here:

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