From Chris Freeman – The Phoenix Shed
I was the first to get up and bid for a group discussion and was surprised to see so many ladies putting their hands up to join the group. In the end we had about 8 around the table, which was great. I explained to the group just what The Phoenix Shed was all about with a brief description of what the Men In Sheds movement was all about.
The first comment was that it was a pity that women were not included in the project. I explained that it was men over 55 who are increasingly becoming socially isolated and that was what the movement was all about. However, another lady asked if it was possible to include women, but at different times to the men. That seemed like a great idea to me and I agreed to take that away and propose the suggestion to the Trustees. (In a subsequent meeting of the Trustees, they agreed that this would be a great way to more fully utilise the facilities). It would also provide a small extra income stream.
The group then discussed the sort of projects that The Shed will be undertaking and the even more important social side of things. One lady did suggest that she would love to see The Shed open 5 days a week. I explained that we would need to administer that with the Trustees as key holders. We are, after all, volunteers and to commit to being available even one day every week for the foreseeable future was a big commitment. I certainly couldn’t do that due to other engagements that come on an ad-hoc basis.
One thing that I did mention was that The Shed is a place for socialising and for undertaking projects. However, projects could just as easily be learning how to work with photographs on a computer, or how to use a sewing machine to put a new zip into clothing. Female tutors would be made more than welcome.
Our allotted time seemed to fly by and we soon ran out of time. I did make several valuable contacts though.
I did attend several other groups during the day and found those really helpful.
What did make the day just a little bit extra special was the social get together in the pub afterwards. That was the perfect way to finish a great day.