“Off to the shed” isn’t something which my family and friends are likely to hear me call, but this week I did just that.
The lure of visiting ‘The Hangar – Littleport’s Men’s Shed’ became more than tempting. I think in part, it came about as my father had never let me into his shed. So I was a little intrigued, to say the least. I would be going into a mans domain. A sacred space of tools, cuppas (cake if you are lucky) and wood.
I was warmly welcomed by the lovely Nigel, Graham and Paul. Also by Michael, who popped in, whilst I was there.
Nigel was instrumental in setting up the Littleport Shed. The shed idea being connected to the National Men’s Shed scheme (UKMSA). Nigel and the volunteers wanted to make a difference in Littleport. The ethos being that men could come together in a relaxed, self-contained setting. To chat, tinker and make things out of wood, metal etc. To enjoy computing also.
Nigel, pre retirement, was a teacher at King’s Ely. With a love for computing, programming in particular. He has brought to the sessions a ‘Rasberry Pi’ programming computer. Small enough to sit in your hand and is now connected to the sheds TV. This can help with many things. Particularly, with project design. So far, a wooden World War biplane and a mobile phone stand have been created, along with a few other bits. In the future, Nigel hopes to raise enough, to have a 3D printer installed.
In the members own words. It is a: “Playgroup for old codgers” but of course all men over 18 are made very welcome.
The setting up of the group has been funded primarily by The Vine Church. The building, which is in Globe Lane. Which was for many years a hair dressers. Once the space was gained (Spring 2018), Nigel and his volunteers tidied, painted, floored and sorted out some plumbing and electrics. So it could be a safe and more spacious space.
The Hangar needed tools, particularly those used in woodworking. So the word was put out and a Facebook page set up ‘The Hangar, Littleport Men’s Shed’.
Littleport Rotary Club donated £150. The parish council, the Littleport Lions Club and St Georges Church assisted as well. Parish Councillor Clive Webber arrived with an arm full of drill parts. Michael, a local member of the shed donated a new drill. Other individuals donated tools as well.
UKMSA advises that they, ‘support and provide guidance to individuals and groups across the UK in starting and managing Men’s sheds. Raising awareness of the social and health benefits of Men’s Sheds in reducing isolation, loneliness and in empowering local communities’.
Nigel added, that those who may benefit mostly from the group are those men who have experienced bereavement, isolation through home working, poor mental health and general isolation or boredom. But all who walk through the Hangars door will benefit and will quickly feel able to engage, in a relaxed atmosphere. Good old men’s banter at the core.
Nigel has certainly seen these benefits already, first hand. Not only have members learnt new skills from each other, but having a good old fashioned natter and men’s moan off, is so beneficial.
The days of the dank, end of garden, independently used wooden shed, hasn’t necessarily gone….but has just had a big upgrade. Social in nature, with the added benefits of having, just the right tool, somebody always knows how to do something and with heating, running water and working electrics it is a win, win situation.
The origins of the social shed stems from Australia, in 1988. Then it grew to Ireland and then the UK. The UK now has some 460 groups now in operation.
New members will need to comply with the groups health and safety policy, filling out a membership form. Membership is only £12 a year. With sessions, just £1 a time.
The shed members meet: Thursdays 9:30am to 12.00pm (Globe Lane).
So, please don’t be shy. As once through the Hangar door you are in for a treat and above all fun!
I have been left with shed envy and have now lost my husband to the Shed…..not necessarily a bad thing 😉
Nigel hopes that in time, as membership grows. More sessions can be added.
If anybody wishes to donate, either tools or funding to help with more specialist equipment. Please contact Nigel, through The Hangar in Littleport, or the Facebook page.
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