A community member standing at Cotswold Community Men's Shed

The Cotswold Community Men’s Shed

We visited Robert from the Cotswold Community Men’s Shed to catch up on the project and he was kind enough to show us around. We previously covered the group in a previous story, and it’s great to find out how Robert and the other members of the group have progressed the project since.

Watch the video below:

Robert: We like woodwork because we believe that wood continues to live. You saw a tree down but it’s still got another life, and it just keeps going.

Colin: I’m already a wood turner and I do like playing with wood, particularly a tree called the Wellingtonian – that’s the one with the soft bark. You can punch it, and it’s lovely, and you can hug it [laughs], and it’s hundreds of years old and you think ‘what’s gone through that tree?’ History.

Robert: How we came here and became Cotswold Community Men’s Shed, we came here and was offered these rooms because they’d been disused for the last five years. I learned very quickly about Barnwood Trust and their start-up help, so I put a case together and we got accepted, which was wonderful because we were able to go out and buy a really important piece of equipment that we needed. But it is all down to money if we want to buy better equipment, or if that was to break down and we needed to replace it. So we all realise we’ve actually got to make something not only for ourselves to take home but something we can actually physically sell.

Colin: I see it as probably helping some of the men who perhaps aren’t in the same relatively good position I’m in. So it’s a question of sharing my knowledge and enabling other people to perhaps learn things and do things which they find rewarding I think.

Robert: Those people have come along and have either lost a wife, lost a partner, lost their job, become retired and lost all their colleagues, and loneliness, depression, purpose in life – those are the words that keep coming out. And it works.

A local Men’s Shed at Wormley who had been on television, they deal with prosthetic legs and the charity it’s done for is Legs for Africa. He approached Men’s Shed saying could you just do a few of these, just dismantle them so we can use the actual bits and pieces that are essential. He’s got access to certain hospitals and they go directly to there, and we’re making people walk again.

Colin: We’re just blokes who’ve not known each other before and just come together, and that’s what it’s all about.

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.

About Small Sparks grants

The Small Sparks fund has been created to help small groups of people throughout Gloucestershire to get together to do something they enjoy and make a difference to where they live.

You might need gardening equipment to grow vegetables together, books or wool to get a club going, or wool and knitting needles for a group you are already a part of.

You can apply for a grant of up to £250 if you can show us that:

  • At least one of you wanting to enjoy the activity has a disability or is an older person who would like to make more friends
  • There are at least four people involved in total
  • Everyone is prepared to contribute their time, energy and talents.

For more information about Small Sparks, visit our grants page or contact grants@barnwoodtrust.org