Plans are underway to create a Birchington Man Shed.
Similar to the Broadstairs Town Shed, which was founded around eight years ago and last year was a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the aim is to create a space in the village for members to make connections, build friendships, share skills and knowledge, and have some banter.
Sheds are whatever the members (or Shedders) want them to be. Although labelled “Sheds”, they often are not sheds at all. They can be empty offices, portable cabins, warehouses, garages, and in at least one case, a disused mortuary!
Some Sheds are purpose built workshops, but they rarely start out that way. Many do not have premises at all in the beginning and instead form a group that meets regularly for the social connection, company and camaraderie until they can find somewhere to kit out with tools. For Birchington, there is a site but no building as yet.
A spokesperson for the new team said: “We are seeking local companies to sponsor us, to donate a large sectional building or enough wood so we can build our own shed.
“We have a Facebook page that is constantly being updated allowing anyone to see what we are about. As we grow we are always going to need money, so we are planning social events like quiz nights and afternoon teas to bolster our coffers. The dates of these will be on Facebook.
“Minimal membership donations, in accordance with regulations, will be a requirement at the beginning. We are literally starting from the bottom and one way or another we are determined to succeed.
“We hope to acquire a building and possibly erect it ourselves. Then the fitting out will start. Our members will be building the benches and installing the electrical power. All the work will be in accordance with health and safety regulations and will be checked by a competent electrician. An electrical supply will be via a generator to begin with and once again, we will be very grateful for any donations of these resources so we can go on fulfilling the needs of our members in the communities of Birchington and surrounding areas. Being part of the team building this will be a bonding exercise in itself. Taking pride in physically building a base where for years to come future members can improve their well-being.”
Many Shed groups get involved in community projects – such as restoring local community features, helping maintain parks and green spaces, and building things for schools, libraries and individuals in need. This is the case with the Broadstairs group and is the aim for the new Birchington team.
Events and fundraising are being planned already.
The spokesperson added: “Activities in Sheds vary greatly, you will find woodworking – repairing and restoring in our Shed. The building will start off small but the plans are big, we have the space to grow as more members join and we have the advantage of asking Broadstairs Town Shed their advice as they have been around over eight years and have learnt a lot in that time.
“They will be invaluable allies and with other Sheds, sponsors and grants helping us, we will have an asset in Birchington to cater for the retired men in the village for many years to come.“
Aimed at retired men, over 55, who are at home with no reason to venture out, a Shed is a place to go and meet others. Members can get involved with woodworking or just sit and chat with likeminded men. They will be shown how to use tools by experienced ‘Shedders’ and allowed to go solo when they can handle the machine safely.
Everyone at the shed is a volunteer and by joining, other men become part of a family.
The Birchington Shed is forming a committee and needs a Treasurer. Anyone with spare time and a background in finance is asked to get in touch. Businesses in a position to donate anything the team could use are also asked to get in touch via the facebook page or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org