The Repair Shed™
Launched in central Hemel Hempstead in summer 2014 For further information contact
Bob Curtis, Wednesday team leader firstname.lastname@example.org 01442 404994
John McKewan, Thursday team leader 07831 659982
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Answers to some of your questions…
What is The Repair Shed?
The Repair Shed aspires to be an environmental social enterprise, based at the Hemel Food Garden in southwest Hertfordshire (see photo) which is run by local charity Sunnyside Rural Trust. It aims to provide a supportive environment in which older men (50+) who are practically-minded can make things, do repairs, share skills and learn new ones.
As a social enterprise, the organisation aims to become financially self-sustaining from making, mending and learning – selling products and services as appropriate. The Shed is equipped with donated hand and power tools and is also acquiring new equipment.
The Repair Shed has been active over the past two years, having ‘gone public’ with a free Community Repair Day in June 2014 to which people brought broken items for assessment and, where possible mending, by volunteer repairers.
For a short film about the Community Repair Day, go to http://bit.ly/1pEe2Gg
Inside The Repair Shed
The Repair Shed occupies a purpose-built 350 sq ft workshop shared with Sunnyside Rural Trust, equipped with a wood-turning lathe. Other tools, equipment and products are stored in a separate container.
Partners in developing The Repair Shed
The Repair Shed is located in Hemel Hempstead, south west Herts at the Hemel Food Garden – a social enterprise of Sunnyside Rural Trust www.sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk
The Repair Shed is set up under the umbrella of Community Action Dacorum (CAD – www.communityactiondacorum.org.uk ) – a 60 year old charity and company limited by guarantee based in Hemel Hempstead.
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About Men’s Sheds:
The Repair Shed is the first Men’s Shed in Hertfordshire of over 400 across the UK. To find your nearest Men’s Shed go to http://menssheds.org.uk/find-a-shed
Most Men’s Sheds are about bringing older men together to stay healthier and happier for longer by making, mending and learning.
Men’s Sheds have been described as ‘half way between work and home’. In Australia, the birthplace of the worldwide Men’s Sheds movement where there are more than 1,000 Sheds, they say “men don’t talk face-to-face, they talk shoulder-to-shoulder.” The Repair Shed is a member of the UK Men’s Sheds Association.
Men’s Sheds – where men talk ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ Learn what happens in Ireland http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PftugQNkPQ&feature=youtu.be
Take a look inside the Camden Men’s Shed http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23671221 (4 minute film clip)
Better Shed than Dead a 45-minute documentary first shown on Community Channel https://vimeo.com/110898334
Who are Repair Shed members?
We’ve defined a ‘typical Repair Shed member’ as a NIPPER – someone Not In Permanent Paid Employment, or Retired. NIPPERs are:
- Men aged 50+ (but not exclusively so)
- May be getting over difficulties in their lives
- Have low support needs and can be independent
- Like doing things with their hands… and having fun
- Want regular involvement with a friendly team
When faced by life-changing experiences (unemployment, retirement, bereavement, divorce, estrangement from family, or moving to a new home) older men in the 50+ age group can feel disconnected and dislocated, particularly when their identify has been tied up with their working lives. Sheds connect older men to like-minded people and to the wider community, through purposeful, often physical, activity that can sustain identity, self-esteem and wellbeing.
Can women join?
- The primary social purpose of The Repair Shed is to keep older men healthier and happier for longer and our activities are intended to further this aim.
- It’s important that men feel comfortable and able to talk about issues, including their personal health, that they might not in a mixed group
- That said, membership of The Repair Shed is not exclusively male. Even in Australia, how women are involved in ‘Men’s Sheds’ is down to the individual Shed. At The Repair Shed, two founder members are women.
What do you do when your favourite item breaks – throw it away? Of course not – you bring it to a free community event to learn how to fix it and keep it in use.
“Excellent – very helpful”’ and “Fantastic” was the verdict from two happy owners of broken items attending Hemel Hempstead’s first Community Repair Day at the Hemel Food Garden.
The items – a bike and a loudspeaker – had been brought in for assessment and, where possible, repair along with a suitcase, an iPhone, a pair of curtains, socks in need of darning, and some wobbly wooden chairs.
The free event, part of an Open Day organised by Sunnyside Rural Trust, aimed to keep items in use by teaching people how to mend them. It attracted a range of challenges for the volunteer repairers – Repair Shed members.
None of the items were considered beyond repair, but two could not be mended on the day. The owner of the iPhone from Bovingdon was advised about another repair facility for getting it fixed. Ann Woolner from Hemel Hempstead had brought a record player with a turntable that wouldn’t turn. The problem – a perished drive belt – was quickly identified and Ann left knowing where to find a replacement belt. She said “The people from The Repair Shed were very helpful and enthusiastic. Getting the turntable working again will be very cheap, but it could have cost a lot just to find out whether it was worth mending.”
For information and advice on repair and re-use, go to www.facebook.com/TheRepairShed
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What does The Repair Shed stand for?
H – healthy habits for physical and mental wellbeing
E – environmental education to change attitudes to consumption and waste
D – demand-led development with shed members at the heart of the enterprise
How does The Repair Shed earn income?
Making – new products such as garden furniture and items for the home, made from reclaimed timber mainly old pallets.
Mending – paid-for repair services, alongside free community repair days (see above)
Learning – paid-for workshops and training courses in repair/refurbishment and DIY skills
Issues around scale and sustainability
If the first Repair Shed develops a financially viable business model, it has the potential to be replicated flexibly across Hertfordshire and beyond; significantly increasing the social and environmental impact.
The men joining the Repair Shed as members play a key role in the design, management and operation of the Repair Shed – tapping into their skills in production, management, marketing and training.
‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing’ George Bernard Shaw
If you think The Repair Shed might be you, or you know someone who fits this description of a Shed member, please contact Bob Curtis, Wednesday team leader email@example.com 01442 404994, or John McKewan, Thursday team leader 07831 659982