NORTH BERWICK DAY CENTRE AGM on Monday 11th May 2015 and talk about Men’s Sheds



North Berwick Day Centre held its AGM on Monday 11th May 2015 and there was very good attendance. Pat Brown read the minutes of the AGM in 2014, which were approved. Then Elma Danks, Chair of the Day Centre gave her report on the past year, which was followed by Ian Donald giving an update on the Day Centre’s registration with the Care Inspectorate, and emphasized the amount of extra work involved by the staff to reach registration. Carol Wicker, the Day Centre Coordinator gave a very informative report on the activities of the Day Centre during the past year and Margaret Wilson, the Volunteer Coordinator reported about the volunteers, without whom, the Day Centre could not function.

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Men's Sheds

After the business of the AGM was concluded everyone was fortunate enough to hear about Dunbar Community Shed as Alistair Sim from Strive Wellbeing gave a brief history of the Sheds movement which began in Australia, when a group of men got together to do things and for social activity. There are now over 1,000 sheds across Australia and the Australian Government now provides start up loans for sheds.

The first shed in Scotland was set up in Aberdeen. Macmerry in East Lothian was Scotland's second shed which has its second birthday next month. Thirty five men now attend Macmerry twice a week, with the main activities woodwork, fly-tying and metal work with community support given in the way of helping build a local playground area. People have come from all over Britain to visit the shed and find out more.

Dunbar is the first mixed-sex shed in UK. There are 14 regular members. They do woodwork, furniture up-cycling, have made a nursery play area and are helping with Zero Waste so can take things that would normally go to the tip. The shed is also setting up a mud kitchen for a nursery and picnic table for the local guild.

There are many benefits - there is a mix with people from all works of life, they help people stay fit and independent. Ages range from mid 30s to 85 but everyone mixes in. Sheds keep people mentally active, support social contacts, and provide community support. They are also intergenerational and are part of the Scottish Sheds Association. The sheds are inclusive, everyone is welcome.

Strive plan to set up a shed in the Hall at St Andrew Blackadder Church, North Berwick and they will be holding an open day soon. Musselburgh is in progress. Strive want to set up a Shed in every town in East Lothian and are planning to run evening sheds on Tuesday evenings so people who work can join in. For more information you can contact Alistair Sim from Strive on 01875 615423.

Kevin Blair and Bill Gatfield from Dunbar Community Shed talked about what it's like being involved in the Dunbar Shed. Both are passionate about the shed and making it work. They are keen to share their skills and experience. Strive helps be seeking funding for sheds as well to buy tools if they are needed. There was a lively question and answer session after the talk. Elma Danks, Chair of the North Berwick Day Centre thanked the speakers for a fascinating talk and wished them well with their sheds in the future.

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