Greetings from your Chairman.
I hope you are all managing to keep yourselves safe during the extremely challenging and frustrating time of lock-down which has ben imposed upon us during this global emergency.
Frustrating, because I think we were on the point of getting our Men-in-Sheds project going when this crisis hit us. I for one was looking forward to our meeting at Burrator because it would have given us an opportunity to see one place where we might have been able to start operating as a Men-in-Sheds.
Instead we have all had to face the challenge posed by the pandemic and I am sure you will all have had interesting experiences and had to overcome unexpected difficulties. One day I hope to be able to hear your stories when we are able to meet together again.
It would be good to meet soon but we will need to be patient for a while longer as most of us have not yet been given the green light to meet in sufficient numbers.
For this reason, I have written this newsletter to explain what has been attempted during the last three months and encourage all of you to look closely at one possibility for creating a mens shed in Tavistock.
As you will see, it is a proposal to improve the existing garden club shed in Pixon Lane and extend it in two directions to double the floor area. I need you to consider what needs to be put into it to make it into a useful meeting place with a workshop, lounge and facilities to serve the aims of our organization.
If we think we can make this work, any other buildings offered to us could be evaluated against this standard. If we conclude that it is still too small, we will have to continue searching for an alternative site.
If, on the other hand, we are able to agree that the Pixon Lane site might be suitable, work can be done to establish the cost and how much of the work we could do ourselves to reduce our outlay. We will be able to apply for grant funding as previously discussed but will need to work on this. As one who is inclined to be optimistic, I feel certain that people in Tavistock will respond to local fundraising efforts and some local businesses will make a contribution. An additional source of fund-raising might be through restoring old pieces of furniture, and then re-selling. Such items can sometimes be sourced through house clearances.
An unknown factor at present, is the longer-term effects of Coronavirus. The workshop environment which we hope to create in the Shed will present its own health and safety issues when we install essential power tools and related equipment. If in addition, we still have to conform to social distancing on a long-term basis, this will impair the viability of the Shed as a workshop. However, the Shed could still fill a role as a Men’s meeting place for social use, ie. talking, refreshments, reading and general interaction etc.. We could also create an adjacent outside space for our use.
Needless to say, it is imperative that we find somewhere to meet until such time as our project is ready to open its doors. I find it particularly disappointing that so many places have been closed during the pandemic. Perhaps we should revisit the Arch project and ask for a space which we could book? Some of us have met for a drink in the West Devon Club. Could this be a suitable venue for our meetings? Please let John know of any venues you think might be suitable.
I was initially delighted with the suggestion from John that we might meet in his garden but, when I realized this would be limited to a maximum of six, it would not be possible for all of us to meet.
David Palmer has generously offered to set up a ZOOM meeting for us and I would like to receive everyone’s view on this possibility. Christopher Pancheri.
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON PIXON LANE GARDEN CLUB SHED
- As a team, I think we all recognize the need for a shed in Tavistock and if we work together, I know that we can make this dream happen.
- It is unfortunate that we have been forced by the global pandemic to shut ourselves away and be prevented from meeting. But this need not prevent us from making plans and discovering how to create a shed in Tavistock.
- John and I have been working to clear away the debris and fallen branches from the roof and the area around the gardening club shed in Pixon Lane so that we can understand what we have been offered and explore its potential for meeting the needs of our organization.
- I measured the plan of this little building and have made a tentative study of how it could be improved and extended in as simple a manner as possible.
- John and I have started to consider what facilities could be accommodated within the extended building to meet the needs of our Men’s shed and I have made a very crude and primitive sketch model to demonstrate how this might work.
- It would be great if all of you would now apply your knowledge and experience to the creation of a soundly-based shed project that would be most likely to succeed within the limitations of this building.
- So far, I have indicated a kitchen area and a workshop area and expect to be able to use the washing and toilet facilities within Kings. If we have to provide toilets within the shed, this may be possible but will seriously limit the space available inside.
- What storage space will be needed? – What tools will we need to accommodate? – How many people will we wish to welcome?
- John and I need your help to answer these questions: If you were coming to the Tavistock Area Men’s Shed, what would you want to find inside and what would you hope to do while you were there? – What facilities would you expect to be able to use during your visit? – What tools / equipment / space would you expect to find inside the shed?
- I attach images of my model and hope to make it available when we next meet.
Christopher and John.