The Alresford Men’s Shed had a booth outside the Community Centre at the Alresford Watercress Festival today. We think we had some interest from some potential new members of the Shed, but more attention came from the kids games we had dreamt up in between other more serious jobs.
In fact most of the last 2-3 weeks have been spent on various projects for games, but two only managed to make it to the stand – both about getting balls into little holes.
The vertical bar billiards had a lot of people confused to start with, but the kids found it straightforward….
Some of the pics from today are shown below, and if you want copies of pics of you or your kids, please email us for them! We will need to know which one you are talking about, so the collages are labelled A,B,C and D, and count along the top row first and then continue on the next line, to find the picture number…..
The Alresford Men’s Shed has been in operation since the end of January…… but some people have questioned what we get up to! Apart from drinking tea of course…. so here goes:
We’ve had requests from other charities, and from friends of the Shed, to build some outdoor things from wood. It started with needing shelves for ourselves, to put wood, and the tools on. So we built those, mostly from old pallets, which we could get free. Then our neighbours wanted the same, so we equipped the whole building.
Jackie Porter asked us for some leaflet boxes, to put on one of the HCC sponsored walk routes, so half a dozen of those are in progress. Then friends of Barn Owls needed some “Owl boxes” to put in old barns, so two of those have been built and are pictured. Another neighbour wanted a simple “A” frame advertising board, so that is in progress.
Other projects have involved cutting shop display shelves to length, , and making eight wooden (small) mallets for kids to use in their nature study field courses.
In the photo there is also a kitchen table that has been resurfaced: the legs were repaired and will now be repainted. Also there is the first demo “Bluetit box”, which we could produce for anyone wanting to help their local housing problems for the birds next year.
Repair projects mostly come in and go back out very fast, so getting pictures is difficult! These are some that could be caught in progress….
The plastic chairs came from the Community Centre, and the seats needed re-gluing, plus all but one have had new ‘Feet’ added to the legs. The drawers have been cleaned off, and will now be repainted (as per instructions). The chair has lost some of the leg supports – or at least they are not fixed in place! New bits will be added to make the chair legs secure. We have repaired several chests of drawers, and some of these were donated to us, for repair and then sale, in a local auction. Another drawer needed an old handle replacing, which we sourced.
Metal-work and gadgets
Sometimes we can repair things that, frankly, we don’t know much about: like a petrol driven leaf blower that was donated (on its way to the dump), and a really old electric sewing machine. The donations arising from these projects, when we succeed, are always appreciated. One other should be mentioned: one of the Pigs 3-wheel walking aids was heading for the scrap heap, after two wheels fell off. Like a case of “one wheel on my wagon”! But thru one Shed member, who rebuilt two new bearings in plastic, it was restored – then he also found someone who needed it, and had the pleasure of seeing it in use!
We’re still here, in the Dean, working away, why not give us your repair or wood-work projects to keep us busier? (In return for a donation to Shed funds, plus material costs, of course)
The Alresford Men’s Shed has discovered that not many of the members either want to get up, or are allowed out first thing on Mondays! So as from 23rd April we are moving the Monday Shed opening from the morning to the afternoon.
So our new opening times will be
Monday and Thursday afternoons, from 2pm to 4.30pm
plus Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 9.30 am until around 12.30pm.
Lots of new equipment has been purchased, plus many members have donated their “spare” tools, and lots of timber has come in for general use, donated by James White Fencing and Cleeve Construction, plus several Shed members.
The Alresford Men’s Shed physically opened its doors at Unit 1, The Dean, to accept Membership registration forms on Tuesday 23 January, 6 weeks ago. Lots of people came to have a look round, and 17 Membership forms were completed on the day! All were impressed by the transformation of the bare factory rooms into a workshop equipped with work benches, large work and rest areas, and storage rooms. The array of tools available in the workshop is impressive, clipped onto wall boards: most are new, purchased by the Shed using their start-up funding, but since the opening there have been several donations of larger items, such as a chop saw, bench vices, a pillar drill, several electric saws, vacuum extractors etc. We now have a BIG sign outside, for the short-sighted, and anyone else that wants to find us, opposite Valdean Caravan Park.
Two days later, Peter Tudor, a Shed Trustee, completed the first ‘Community’ project in the Shed, by repairing the seat cushions of six chairs from St John’s Church. This was a straightforward task of replacing the hardboard underneath the foam of the seat cushion with a slightly stronger sheet of plywood. Peter says that there are several more chairs that need this sort of attention in the Alresford Church, so more seats will follow! The picture shows Peter with the first six seat cushions, plus also some of the tools positioned behind the workbenches.
The Alresford Men’s Shed is delighted to accept donations of tools that are surplus to requirements from anyone. Membership is open to all, so please come along to meet the people and see the facilities available. More important, you will be able to visualise what you might be able to do in the Shed, and see some projects on-going. Volunteers are repairing restaurant tables, drawer handles, chair backs, and even making shelves for storage areas. If you have some repair jobs, or something you want building, why not drop in and see what we can do for you? Maybe we could help you to up-cycle some old furniture, for sale to the ‘trendy people’ of Alresford…..
Monday and Thursday morning (from 23 April the Monday session will be in the afternoon)
The Alresford Pigs have supported the Alresford Men’s Shed with a substantial donation to help the charity to be established in the town. The idea of a “Men’s Shed” is that it provides a workshop and meeting place, mainly for retired men. If they don’t have many practical skills then they are still welcome, maybe they can gain them or polish budding skills at the Shed, it is a place where they can meet other guys and become involved in projects, often which benefit the community. In doing so they develop relationships, get out of the house, and gain something with a purpose. Often they would also have their own DIY repair jobs, and other skilled Shed members would help them undertake these, using shared experience.
Frequently their wives also encourage this activity, not only to get the repair jobs done, but to get them out of the house for a change! This might be why the Alresford Ladies Group has also promised the Shed a donation: all the founder members are men – but if there is a demand then they will accommodate ladies who might want to use the woodworking facilities, or other tools, or just need to use space to repair something for themselves. The Alresford Co-op has generously also made a donation, from their Community Fund.
The Shed Trustees have found some premises in the Dean, in one of the commercial units there. This is short term, in that with the current development plans, in a year or so the site will be re-developed. But in the meantime, the benches and racking for tools are now installed, tools are available, some donated, some purchased, and the Shed will officially open for visitors and Members on Tuesday January 23rd. Initially the opening times are Mondays 0930-1230, Tuesdays 1400-1630 and Thursdays both morning and afternoon: from 23rd April the Monday session will be in the afternoon..
The Shed is looking for projects for the Community, other Charities, and individuals. Materials are chargeable, but the labour is provided – although donations towards the running costs are welcome. Membership is £50 a year. The Shed is located at Unit 1, The Dean: (the Lorem building). Members of the public can bring those repair problems that can’t be done anywhere else, to see what we can do. An underlying rule of the shed is that we do not take away business from anyone else providing a similar service.
The Shed has strict rules for Health and Safety: eg no children in the workshop, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) must be worn, etc.
Over the next year a site for a new Shed is being sought, to allow the Shed members to build a new Shed from scratch.