We are Lancaster & District Men’s Shed (LADS), a new not-for-profit project based in the yard of Kanteena, in Lancaster’s Canal Quarter.
We launched in March 2020 just before we went into COVID lock-down and, in spite of the restrictions we are already helping men of all ages to connect, create and have conversations together.
A Shed is typically seen as a place where men work, potter, play and tinker. Men’s shed projects are based on the idea of creating places where men of all ages can come together to work together and support each other. Reducing isolation and loneliness whilst putting life-long skills to good practical use and building a source of strong community together.
A Men’s Shed is a place for men of all ages to come together and work together, sharing know-how and skills. A Shed offers a chance for mutual support and self-help, as well as providing practical hands-on support to other community projects and groups.
A Shed group can offer a lifeline to help tackle loneliness, social isolation and a sense of lack of purpose.
Men’s Shed projects help foster positive mental and physical health and wellbeing for men who don’t necessarily have the same sorts of social networks as women. This is especially the case after men have stopped working or experienced other life changing events such as bereavement or unemployment. They help fulfil a vital role in providing men with a range of social, recreational and practical activities.
We really need a portacabin to serve as our shed. As we move into autumn, and with winter beckoning we need to get an indoor workroom established so we can keep the project moving forward.
The project has used a gazebo to work under during the summer and, with the unpredictability of the English weather, we’ve needed it more than we expected! But now as we move into the colder and wetter autumn and winter months we urgently need to acquire a more durable and warmer long-term solution for our accommodation.A new indoor home for the Men’s Shed!
We have a identified a portacabin that would exactly suit our needs and we have eight weeks to raise the money to buy it and keep the project going through the winter months and beyond. We need to raise £6,000 to buy and transport the portacabin and connect it to the power and water.
We are off to a good start. Having had our launch meeting just a few days before the COVID lock-down in March, we have still managed to do a lot over the summer.
We have established a base of operations at Kanteena in the Canal quarter and we have been taking advantage of the summer weather to get our growing group working outdoors. At our activities we have been attracting between 6-10 men of all ages from mid 30’s to mid 80’s to benefit from what the Men’s Shed has to offer –woodworking, painting, upcycling and generally preparing the site for our new activities.
And demand is growing from men to join us and with new enquiries all the time.
We believe there are going to be a lot of men needing support as they grapple with the ongoing COVID lockdown restrictions and the effects of potentially long-term life changes that may result, such as bereavement or unemployment.
Our Portacabin is desperately needed to provide a safe, dry, space to work and meet in and to provide us with a dry enclosed space where we can extend the range of the activities we can offer.
With a fully kitted out workshop we can benefit from people such as 86-year-old Brian whose career was spend with Waring & Gillow. Brian has a lifetime of woodworking experience that he is keen to to pass on to a younger generation.
And we have lots of project ideas in the pipeline ranging from:
- A covered outdoor area for market stalls for making and selling our pallet planters, which will be open to the public.
- Demonstration area for all our upcycled pallet items for the garden all made from upcycled pallet wood.
- A paint swap store
- Bicycle maintenance project
- With recently donated dozens of lengths of picture framing wood we want to get our indoor woodworking activities going as soon as we can.
Other Benefits: As well as the social and skills support, we can offer our members and to other community projects, there is our contribution to sustainability. We re-use, re-purpose, repair and recycle what would otherwise be thrown away and apply our skills to keep that value in our local community. In 2019 Lancaster City Council made tackling the climate emergency, addressing social inequality, and strengthening the local economy their three core priorities and LADS is a project that can play a part to deliver on all three priorities.
We anticipate demand for our service will grow quite rapidly and are already getting a lot of enquiries from organisations looking for placements for people with mental health issues, for example.
We are getting enquiries from men have who have said they want to join us now that the nights are drawing in.
Our Portacabin will help us do evening activities and we are planning to start at least one or two weekday night Shed activities for men who are working or can’t otherwise get to us in the daytime.
In spite of COVID and the restrictions we have got off to a good start. We now want to build on these good beginnings and for that we need your help.
Can you help us? Any donation you can make to help us reach our goal will be very most gratefully received. Should we be lucky enough to receive extra donations we will put these to good use acquiring more tools and materials for our members to work with and for updating our website and developing our wider communication strategy.