Update on the Camden Town Shed
With Thanks to Mike Jenn from London who sent us this powerful example of how community men’s shed can get off the ground
a) We formed an association (club), got a bank account, applied to a fund for social entrepreneurs and got £3000 awarded (March 31st)
b) We gained an agreement and good understanding with the Maiden Lane Community Centre NW19XZ where we are based. It allows us to use an excellent self-contained room rent free for the first 3 months, then at £10 per hour inclusive of all utilities and cleaning. We have the room two days per week but they accept we will only pay for one of those days before a renegotiation of the rate happens. (They accept that paying the same hourly rate as other casual users isn’t fair if we take on longer and greater commitment). They are hoping we will expand to further days but that will depend on leadership developing within the group. The only downside is that the Centre is not in a good location.
c) We gained access to premises on April 26th since when we have equipped the workshop for woodwork with benches and a basic set of tools. This is enough to set the character of the place but not so as to determine entirely how the place will be used. We also built a wood-store outside which can operate as an additional work area.
d) Excess donated tools have been refurbished and taken to a charity that sends them to training schools in east Africa. This is likely to continue.
e) From mid May we publicised and networked locally i.e. on the estate where we are based, in an attempt to get in people who live nearby. We have some printed posters but were mainly using small credit-card sized flyers and personal contact. At some point when we have a few people we will create a launch event.
f) Last week we started networking through all the local agencies and will also soon be in the local paper. This risks too many people coming at once but perhaps that won’t happen. We’re handing out cards in the street and finding places to leave them. We need to attract a balance of people, some with skills and motivation to match those who may be disengaged and depressed.
g) We have raised a further £8000 from 3 varied sources.( each source gave us all we asked for despite a difficult climate)
So apart from the main focus of getting members and in a fair balance, there is work in hand to find free timber, register with the Charity Commission, add to our basic website (www.camdentownshed.org) and to create a national online forum of people thinking about getting themselves a Shed in the UK .