We did it
On 6th March 2020 we successfully raised £70 with 3 supporters in 42 days

Help Blyth Man Shed set up an exciting new community workshop space & garden for local people of Blyth to Create, Build & Socialise.

by David Thompson in Blyth, England, United Kingdom

What is Blyth Man Shed? 

You've likely already watched the video attached to this campaign but if you haven't it's well worth making a brew and taking a few minutes to watch it. Watch it here.

Our aim is simple (we hope). We want to create a community workshop. A space where people join us, make a brew and engage in chit-chat forging new friendships while enjoying Creating, Building & Socialising. Simple!

A key theme and focus for this project centres on men's health and developing a space in keeping with the ethos & the spirit of the UK Men's Shed Association.  https://menssheds.org.uk

Blyth Man Shed will be a space created by the people of Blyth for the people of Blyth.

The Shed will be a fully inclusive facility, giving individuals sanctuary and the space to escape from the isolation & loneliness often leading to poor mental health. Depression and mental health is a growing concern within our society and it is widely recognised that this is disproportionately the case across the male population who sadly don’t talk, rather choosing the ‘bottle it up’ approach.

The shed will take the form of a fully equipped workshop with professional commercial-grade tools to allow for wood and metalworking and smaller hand tools allowing Shedders to take part in shed/community or personal projects.

What's happened so far

The Blyth Man Shed idea was born one evening back in early 2019 following a brainstorming session at the local pub. And from that evening it quickly became apparent that the idea was not only good, but it was far better than we had originally imagined! During our research, we discovered the UK Men's Shed Association. We immediately signed up and we've never really looked back since.

To make all this work we needed a dedicated team, so four directors were appointed. David, Scott, Steven & Kevin who continue to forge ahead to deliver this amazing project. The relevant important paperwork was sent off and we registered with Companies House as a Community Interest Company also known as a CIC in September 2019. 

It's amazing how much paperwork is required behind the scenes, something we hadn't really taken into account, we just wanted the workshop up and running yesterday! Typical for a bunch of enthusiastic mates all eager to see Blyth Man Shed open and achieving its aims.

We held our first public meeting early Jan 2020 and it was a huge success. We welcomed around 15 people keen to find out how to get involved. The positive feedback we received on the night was staggering and humbling in equal measure. And that first meeting has begun opening many doors for us including connections with the local Royal British Legion Branch as well as other community organisations keen to engage with our project. As every day passes our project gathers more pace with new networking opportunities appearing every few days.

We identified several suitable venues in and around Blyth town but being a start-up beginning with nothing but our enthusiasm, we found the costs too prohibitive.  It has been a struggle balancing full time jobs and hunting for the perfect space for Blyth Man Shed but we have now found what we believe is the perfect space for the project. And thanks to the incredible generosity of the property owners we have been offered a long-term lease for a peppercorn rent! Of course we’ve accepted and hope to soon get the keys to begin a very exciting phase in Blyth Man Sheds development.

Since that first public meeting the interest & support from the community has been overwhelming. From only a few posters around town and some social media activity to promote the project we've been inundated with people desperate to know more, to join or help out and support the project.

This brings us just about up to date with what's been happening over the past 6 months. As you can see its all go here at Blyth Man Shed and it's going to be pretty full-on for the next few months too. We are all very much looking forward to the next few months as the planning and fundraising continues towards making the shed restoration possible.

Plans for early 2020 and beyond

So much work needs completing before the shed can be used as a workshop and to its full potential. As the much-needed funding applications are been processed we are still going to need to fundraise money to help kick-start the project.

Here’s a quick timeline of milestones we need to meet to help us get to the point where we can open the doors to the community. 

  • Insurance - we can't do anything without insurance unfortunately, so this is right at the top of the list.  £550 will get us off the ground and give us a fully inclusive policy.
  • Secure Main Gates – we need to replace the main access gates into the yard. Quotes have costed this at £1,600.
  • Electrics - the premises currently has no power. Northern Powergrid has quoted us a cost around £1,350 to have mains power routed onto the premises land. In addition, another £1,470 will allows us to get that mains feed directly routed into the shed. 
  • Lighting - Led lighting for inside the shed & outside. Estimated at £200-300. 
  • Roof Repairs - the shed roof needs some TLC and repairs costing around £4,000. Hopefully a lot less if we source materials locally at discounted rates, if not for free!

What will we do with the money?

We believe in the grand scheme of things Blyth Man Shed needs just a modest sum of money to help get the project off the ground or kick-started if you like. We estimate that £8,000- £10,000 will allow us to renovate where needed, install the primary facilities and start purchasing some of the tools and equipment which the shedders will use.

The shed will be operating a number of eco-friendly initiatives including capturing energy from sunlight with solar panels and storing the power in batteries which will run the general shed lighting on the dark Northumbrian evenings. We will also be harvesting rainwater, of which we see plenty! All rainwater harvested will be filtered and stored ready for flushing the shed toilet and watering the raised garden beds out in the yard. 

Workshops require tools, lots of tools, some big, some small. At the moment we’re considering all ideas as to what the shed will actually make. We know the general workshop will be based around woodworking and woodcrafts, but it's not limited to wood. If a member is interested in building model steam trains for example then specialist tools will likely be required to allow members to carry out this type of work. This is only an example of what you can expect to see happening down in the shed, the list is endless as you can imagine.

Over time as Blyth Man Shed becomes more established, shed members will have the opportunity to become involved with special projects and develop their own project ideas, some of which may require special tooling and materials. Funds will be required to allow for special projects to take place. Projects which will not only engage Shedders but also benefit the town and wider community. 

We need important people, like you. 

It's simple really, the project needs some canny generous people like you to help us out. With your support, ideas, and pledges we can together make the Blyth Man Shed project an important part of the community.  

What do you get for the money you kindly pledged?

Apart from the great sense of satisfaction, you’ll gain from knowing you’re supporting a worthwhile cause, you will also be invited to join us at Blyth Man Shed special events including open days and workshop days. We hope that when you meet the people the project supports and see the positive impact on our community, that this will validate just how valuable your pledge is. And as everything we do is about ‘the community’, you’ll no doubt see the fruits of your pledge around the town.

Other ways you can help

It's not just about financial pledges! We’re not just after money, we know there’s a great deal of experience and skill out there and we want to tap into that rich vein too.

Blyth Man Shed is for the people of Blyth – By the people of Blyth.

Beyond the shed there’s outside space too. Here we plan to create the BMS garden with raised beds for growing a variety of things. There are lots to do!

Being community focussed, we like to use local businesses and services wherever possible, this is very important to us. If you think you can help out or your business can support Blyth Man Shed in anyway then we would love to hear from you. 

If you think you can help - please get in touch by emailing 

info@blythmanshed.org.uk or by sending us a message on our Blyth Man Shed Facebook Page. 

www.blythmanshed.org.uk

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