Award Winning Men in Sheds Project needs a Shed, in fact a piece of ground will do!

by Sue Thomas

Award Winning Men in Sheds Project needs a Shed, in fact a piece of ground will do!

Award Winning Men in Sheds Project needs a Shed, in fact a piece of ground will do!

Bourton on the Water Men in Sheds project has won the UK Mens Shed Associations “Outstanding New Shed 2016” at ShedFest in Birmingham. They also won the award for Best Picture 2016 but these award winning Shedders are shed-less!

Mark Weir, Bourton Men in Sheds co-founder receiving the award from Mike Jenn and the ‘Shedders’ outside their current Shed at the George Moore Community Centre in Bourton on the Water.

Mark Weir and Howard Crook set up the Bourton Shed in January 2016 to provide a place for retired men to come together and socialise and benefit the Bourton community.

Men in Sheds is a national phenomenon and has captured the imagination of retired men all over the UK, succeeding where many other group activities for men have failed. The Bourton Shed has undertaken some amazing community projects including helping with a garden renovation to improve accessibility for a resident suffering from motor neurone disease who had been housebound for two years; projects for the Parish Council, including notice boards for the allotments and in addition the shed provides a maintenance service for older members of the community, repairing garden benches, fences and paths, and undertaking other small jobs which older people can struggle to undertake themselves, or find anyone to do for them. General maintenance and repair gives properties a ‘cared for’ appearance which helps prevent crime as unkempt properties can identify occupants as being vulnerable to doorstep scams. The shed has also built floats and stands for the Bourton Family Fun Day and even a working trebuchet; there is no end to the Shedders talents and the sharing of skills is just one of the many Shed benefits.

Shedders testing their trebuchet earlier this year. Other projects include 40 owl boxes for the local Wildlife Trust and plans are underway to build a bereavement garden at the local hospital.

Mark Weir said:

“It is a fantastic achievement and a credit to the Bourton community who have been so supportive of the Shed. Our membership has grown from 2 to nearly 30 in less than 12 months and we are quite literally bursting out of our tiny 10’ x 6’ shed at the Bourton community centre. We’ve been looking for a new shed for a while but so far haven’t found one. We have considered placing 2 forty foot shipping containers on a suitable piece of ground and, in true shed style, converting them into workshops with eco toilets and a community composting scheme but so far there is no suitable site in Bourton to do this. We became part of Cotswold Friends in March 2016 and, with the support of Moore Friends, additional funding has been secured to grow the Shed but at the moment we are considering reducing the scope and size of what we do until we have a safe, warm working environment; as we come into winter our members can’t keep working in the George Moore car park.”

The shed must go on! Using a gazebo to keep working on projects in bad weather.

A quote from a Bourton shedder who was nominating the Bourton shed for the Shedfast Awards:

“The deep comradery that exists in our shed is breath taking. We have been referred to as “A Band of Shedders” or sometimes “A Shed of Brothers”. We really do look after each other, we laugh, take the mickey and console when Shedders are having a tough time. We are a shoulder to lean on, to laugh on and cry on. Our shed is like a real life version of “Last of the Summer Wine”. Believe me ….. you haven’t lived until you find yourself “skip diving” for pallet wood with an 89 year old. Being a Shedder makes me and my comrades feel like kids again, and feeling young again is just the best thing!

Amanda Howard the CEO at Cotswold Friends said:

“The Bourton shed hasn’t just benefitted the Bourton community they have inspired the whole of the north Cotswolds. Moreton, Northleach, Stow and Campden are all looking into the possibility of developing a Men in Sheds project, every community would benefit from this. Cotswold Friends are setting up Charitable Trusts to protect any shed investments for the community and Community Activity Programme Manager Jo Spicer would love to hear from anyone who is interested in leading a community shed project.”

If you have a suitable site you can offer the remarkable Bourton Shedders please contact Jo Spicer at Cotswold Friends [email protected] or phone Jo on 01608 651415

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