The Dunstable Men in Sheds was asked to mentor two 13 year old students for the first stage of their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award scheme.
Martin, the Group’s Chairman, and Terry the then Secretary, met Harvey and Oscar in May 2019, when the lads said they planned to build a bedside cabinet and a dog kennel. During the first meeting we suggested they draw plans of their projects and they were shown roughly how these needed to be laid out.
The projects then went from strength to strength, with the lads slowly taking on more of their project planning and construction under supervision.
During the projects’ progress Glynn, our group’s Project Manager, and Nigel, now our Secretary, came on board. Both Martin and Nigel gave talks during the twelve weeks of the project, covering planning, health & safety and the various tools the lads were using, plus construction methods.
At the Shed we learnt a lot during the project, as we are sure the lads did, and we wish both Harvey and Oscar well in the future stages of the Award scheme.
In the photo, left to right are, Umberto, GLynn, Martin, Bernhard, Andrew Selous, Nigel, Mike, Richard and Tony.
The Visit by Andrew Selous MP for SW Bedfordshire to Our Shed.
Friday 17th May 2019.
Andrew Selous MP for SW Bedfordshire paid us a visit on Friday morning. He had for some time shown a keen interest in what we do at Our Shed, and wanted to know a lot more about the Men in Sheds movement and how it provides benefits for the elder men in local communities throughout the country.
For us, his visit was a golden opportunity to describe to Andrew our respective talents, skills and show him a range of the products that we make. Not forgetting the many community projects we have taken on; and to outline our future objectives to grow.
It was comforting to realise that we had a range of the nine members present who had been at the founding of the Shed back in 2016, up to our latest recruit of two weeks, who hails from Luton.
Andrew was impressed with the machine tools and other equipment we have, and then told us that in his early days he had trained as a Carpenter. Glynn immediately asked him to join us! We all laughed!
Then, as Andrew was looking at our products, he picked up a turned wooden truncheon that had been a commission job made during the week, and said that he would like to use it to ‘knock some sense’ into some of his parliamentary colleagues at Westminster! Again, we all laughed!
He praised us for the high quality of the products we had on display, especially the smooth finish and type of wood used to make the turned dibbers, which are made from cheap wooden rolling pins that we buy from a local supermarket. He was most impressed with our ingenuity!
Andrew then questioned us about our premises, and how we cope with the restricted space available. The current situation was explained, and the reasons the town council had to delay giving us the other half of the building. We made him aware that we had no problems with the town council now that further clarification of the problems they were facing whilst reorganising their resources had unfortunately caused. Projected handover for September was the month given.
In accordance with our plans to grow, and the actions agreed at the UKMSA AGM for all Sheds to lobby their respective MPs to raise the profile of the Sheds movement within parliament, it was explained to Andrew that for local issues we needed more support from both the town and county councils, especially with gaining future funding from the Section 106 Grant Aid scheme. For the broader perspective, we told him that at present we are the only proper Men’s Shed in Bedfordshire, and are only too willing to assist via the UKMSA to encourage the founding of more Men’s Sheds in towns and villages throughout the County.
Trustee and Chairman – Dunstable Men in Sheds.
We made a bench from the packaging material that Megaglass generously donates and presented it to them as a small token of our gratitude.
My Journey to visit The Sheds ‘Down Under’.
(or There and Back Again)
November 2018 - February 2019
Martin Young MSc. (Eng) CEng MIET CMIET
Chairman and Trustee – Dunstable Men in Sheds
The concept and formation of Men's Sheds started in Australia, so when Ann and I started to plan our four-month tour of Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to visit as many 'Sheds' as feasible was an opportunity not to be missed.
So, venturing forth from Perth, our planned route was to Adelaide (via the 'Indian - Pacific'), then by train to Melbourne, Sydney, Katoomba, the Gold Coast and Cairns. For New Zealand the route was Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Hokitiki, and Greymouth by car, and then Greymouth, Christchurch, Blemheim, Picton, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland by train! (Ferry across the Cook Strait)
Unfortunately, our itinerary, the Christmas, New Year and Australia Day holidays meant visits to the Sheds in Perth, Burra, Melbourne, Sydney, Katoomba, Cairns and others passed en-route could not be made. However, these omissions were more than made up for by the unexpected finds of other Sheds: some 'off the beaten track'!
If I had done them all, I am sure that Ann would have been very displeased.
The sheer differences between individual Sheds and how they are managed has to be admired and complimented, and to write detailed accounts of each visit, compare or criticize would fill volumes; is not my intention.
Each of the ten Sheds I visited was totally different to any other, not only the premises, but in the way problems and obstacles are managed and solved. However, it became clearly evident that the drive to be successful and sustainable was the only common thread.
So, I asked myself: “What are the prime factors behind the drive for success and sustainability?”
I deduced from all the many conversations and all that I saw, the following five factors:
· Comprehensive and effective management of resources
· Ability to negotiate effectively with local councils and other agencies
· Detailed planning and scheduling of community works
· Following the Shed ethos: respecting others by being inclusive and considerate.
I am sure you all agree.
So, please enjoy reading my report on my experiences in the ‘Sheds Down Under’, plus my light hearted plagiarism, banter of the Shedders I met, my sci-fi and fantasy divergencies and the Sheds visited! The Report has finally been published as a ‘Blog’.
The roads go ever on!
Thanks to the generosity of ASDA and the hard work put in by Tony (AKA Sean) we now have some great new equipment at the shed
One heavy packing crate arrived bright and early at the shed, the strong plywood panels will be recycled in the shed and used for future projects.
Everyone sets about unpacking
Contrary to urban myth sometimes men read the instructions !!
The honour of the first run was awarded to Tony, we can now take rough timber and turn it into quality material for our projects
A wigwam side panel assembled in the jig. The jig was designed as standard engineering practice, to ensure that all the five sides of the wigwam would be pre-drilled and made exactly the same so that final assembly would be easy.
The assembled side panel – showing the finished length @ 2.60m.
The ‘first fix’: Three out of the five sides clamped together to check alignment. The pre-drilled fixing holes can be seen in the joining rails. However, the uneven ground made it hard to determine accuracy of fit.
The ‘first fix’: External view showing the overall height of 2.40m, and how the wigwam fits onto the base diameter of 2.00m. Only the fourth side panel and the fifth ‘Doorway’ panel to complete before the ‘second fix, and snagging’ stage.
Abigail , from RVS, visited Dunstable shed today to present us with a cheque and a plaque
Cheif fund raiser, Tony accepts the award from Abigail
Paid a visit to the Winslow shed this week, made welcome by the members who gave us the grand tour ! They have a great set up with good facilities.
Several shedders wanted to try wood turning, thanks to Keith for coming in to share his knowledge and give shedders a start in a new skill.
We held a successful stall at the craft market in Aston Square in November and December.
The there is still time to buy our hand made and individual Christmas items and lots more, just come to the shed during open hours or go to "contact us" via the home page.
Today at Beecroft Academy the Totem Poles were officially handed over to the school, Terry, Martin, Glynn, John, Tony and myself were there to represent the Shed and the entire school turned out to give us a rousing welcome. I think we were all surprised and touched by the reception. Many of the kids, sorry students, thanked us and all seemed thrilled with the work we did on the Totems. Current protocols mean we have to seek parental permission to post photographs with the children in them so for now just one of us. When I get more from the headmaster I will post them here.
Check out this great video