DOORS to the Wokingham Men’s Shed were officially opened this week, with new members welcomed to join the community of shedders.
Addressing a fifty-something crowd of shedders, volunteers and members of the Town Council, Ron Baillie — chairman of the Wokingham group — explained how the Men’s Sheds can help tackle social isolation.
In a speech, he said: “This is about bringing together guys to help themselves and their community.
“To get them out of their house and out of their armchair.”
The Men’s Shed is a registered charity, with more than 500 locations across the UK.
The shed is a place for local men — and women — to make new friends whilst making and mending. Common activities include woodwork and metalwork.
Acknowledging those involved in the shed’s launch, Mr Baillie said: “Thank you to Janet and Amy from Wokingham United Charities who gave us a grant to help with the renovations, to Oxfam who have helped with the PAT testing of equipment, and to David Cliff who has supplied us with modern, new power tools.”
The shed was renovated last month after the Latimer Road Pavillion building was approved for community use.
“This building was going to be demolished,” said Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, leader of the Town Council said.
“It was being vandalised. But when Ron got in touch in May last year, we decided that if the building is looked after, then maybe people will respect it and leave it alone.”
She congratulated Mr Baillie on his perseverance to open the shed and providing a good use for the community building.
Mr Baillie thanked Cllr Shepherd-DuBey for her help finding a suitable building for the shedders to use.
Cllr Tony Lack, Deputy Town Mayor was also at the opening. He added: “Thank you for creating a resource for the town.
“It’s really great to see this resource and I’ll see you in the shed for a cup of tea when I get a chance.”
Vic Gardener became a member soon after the charity started.
He said: “It’s a great thing. I’ve got short term memory loss, and it really helps to meet other people and get out of the house.”
Another shedder added: “This is somewhere you can go without making an appointment, and you can learn lots of skills from other people.
“It’s about getting people out of the house.”
Currently, the Shed has 20 members, however they hope to increase their membership to 50.
The shed is open two days a week, but if they hit their 50-member target, the shed will open more frequently.
More information about the group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Wokinghammensshed/