The Tool Shed is based on the Australian Men in Sheds movement where inter-generational groups come together to pass on and, or, learn practical and life skills through activity, identity and meaning and came about when a local gentleman passed away at home and it was six weeks before anyone missed him. This prompted us to research the problems facing older men and we discovered that it is a World Wide issue. The Tool Shed was started to cater for 50+ males but welcomes anyone and everyone.
During the research we discovered that more than half-a-million 50+ men in the UK lead lonely lives with no friends and no contact with family. Divorce and family break-up has left millions without ties to their family links. Retirement and redundancy deprives many of the company of work colleagues and others are left alone by bereavement or their own poor health. The Tool Shed aims to meet the needs of the 50+ group whilst encouraging a mix of older people looking to reengage with life and younger people searching for a direction in life.
Its commitment to equality and diversity ensures The Tool Shed welcomes people from all backgrounds and contributes to creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. It enables and enhances the personal development of all participants thereby improving their quality of life and well being. As a founder member of the UK Men's Shed Association we are at the forefront of improving the health and well being of our members.
Everything the team makes is a limited edition with the number of pieces being determined by the quantity of materials salvaged from each location. For example, only two 10’ trestle tables were manufactured for Leaf on Bold Street as only two were saved from St Joseph’s College. There will be only three full length mirrors made from doors from the same location. Each piece has a unique serial number and is supplied with the full provenance of the materials and a montage of its manufacture.
But we don't just make stuff, we repair it, restore it, refurbish it, take it apart, and loads of other stuff.
Recent developments have included the team going out into the community and providing after school clubs to year nine groups and adult courses enabling participants to produce their own up-cycled comic chairs thereby raising awareness of the option of reuse.
The invitation to be: Part of the solution rather than the problem is open to everyone. Individuals can volunteer their time or expertise to work with those already there. People can donate tools, equipment or materials for the team to work with. Creative’s can come along and offer support, advice and designs to work on. But most importantly, if you do feel isolated, have no real sense of direction, or simply just want to come along and have a chat and a coffee and a look at what we do then the door is always open, (well, from about eight in the morning till four thirty in the afternoon Monday to Friday).
We currently operate five Tool Sheds: