Much More Than A Workshop at Wotten Men’s Shed

A little while ago we visited Robert & Julian at the Men’s Shed in Wotten-Under-Edge. The project is nestled in the back of a local furniture store, where they welcome all members from the community to come and chat, have a cup of tea, and maybe even learn a bit of woodwork! They only have one rule – bring a mug!

Robert told us a little bit about how they got started and their plans for the project; “We had our first meeting in January 2018, so we’re fairly new. We are currently searching for a bigger space in Wotten-Under-Edge as there has been a lot of interest and space is limited in the shop. There is plenty of interest from local craftspeople and others, as people come in off the street to see what’s going on here. There is so much potential!”

“Most of what we make is out of recycled materials – pallets, old furniture and more. We have a pair of cabinets that somebody brought in – they had chopped the legs off of one of them! So we came up with the idea of making a frame underneath of each one. We painted the top, painted the bottom and now they look great and they’re on sale.

Another cabinet project came in in a bit of a poor state. We rubbed it down with sandpaper, fixed the broken bits, varnished it, re-polished the metal work and now it looks almost new. It was utility furniture – you can tell by the stamp on the bottom. It was created after the Second World War as wood was limited at the time and had to be stamped or else it was illegal.

We’ve had some good tools donated and we’ve received a grant from Barnwood Trust for tools and bits and pieces.

A local nursing home has a garden which is south-facing, so we’re going to go out there and make the grass accessible for wheelchairs for them. Men’s Sheds are all about giving back to the community and Julian is a shining example.”

Julian; “I suffer from depression. I lost my wife to cancer. For quite a while I was in a bad way. I came under the South Gloucestershire Mental Health team who gave me support and recommended the Men’s Shed. So, I came over on a Wednesday to take a look – I haven’t left since. It saved me. I hadn’t left the house, I was sleeping all the time, I was bored out of my ears, I was stressed. They brought me here and I haven’t looked back.

It gives me the reason to get up in the morning. I started coming every Wednesday, then every Thursday morning, and it drags me out of the house. And I get to talk to people – I meet people, which I didn’t get to do when I was stuck in the house. That’s half the problem with the gentlemen and women who retire, or lose their partner, and they’re literally stuck at home doing nothing but watching television.”

“We provide a place where they can come, talk to customers, talk to us, have a cup of coffee – even if they don’t do any woodwork – they’ve got somebody to talk to. We provide the tools, equipment and the rest. The point of the Men’s Shed is that the only thing you need to bring with you is a mug.”

To find out more about Men’s Sheds in your area, take a look at the UK Men’s Sheds Association website. If you would like to learn more about our grants programmes please visit our grants pages here.