Video: Men in Sheds find friendship and creativity in Blidworth

Older men who might have retired often miss the noise and clatter and the feeling of creativity and purposefulness that a workplace once gave them.

And although they might not admit it they might feel isolated and lonely.

At the Men in Sheds at Blidworth: Colin Sharpe, Dennis Lee, coordinator Chris Riley, Ivan Smith Geoff Swain and Richard Felds.

At the Men in Sheds at Blidworth: Colin Sharpe, Dennis Lee, coordinator Chris Riley, Ivan Smith Geoff Swain and Richard Felds.

Now there is somewhere they can go to put their practical skills to good use - and just as importantly meet friends and be more socially active.

Men in Sheds is a project for older men based on the very successful Australian Men in Sheds movement, which is growing worldwide.

The Chad visited the Blidworth workshop, which has for the past four years been a hive of activity for older men who can come along and do craftwork, make things at their leisure for their homes house friends or family.

Co-ordinator Chris Riley said: “ It is a great place for members to put their skills to good use, share their knowledge learn new skills and generally put the world to rights over a cup of tea. They might have found themselves a bit isolated. It is a great place to combat loneliness.

“They come for a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from highly skilled to those with little or no experience, but they all work together.”

“Activities mainly focus on woodwork, but its anything you can imagine.

“Recently a gentleman was walking in Sherwood Forest when he picked up some acorns.

“He had an idea he could turn them into little hedgehogs.

“We made a batch of them and people loved them.”

The products made are sold to support the project, which is run by Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Amidst the whirr of drills and lathes cheery chatter and the smell of sawdust and glue, volunteer Geoff Swain, 76 of Blidworth was busy making bird house table for a Christmas present.

He said: “I came because I have had a lifetime in workshops of one kind or another and am used to being in workshops.

“Some of the chaps who come along have never been in a workshop before - they need a bit of encouragement.

“Once they get started they are usually away and with a bit of help they stay.

“There‘s a lot of companionship and banter - some people have never had that but very soon they get used to it and enjoy it.

“They get a lot out of it - otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming.”

Richard Felds, 83 of Mansfield has designed and built a beehive holder for window box planters.

He said: “This is my hobby, I’ve been coming here for two years, it’s very good company and I have very good friends here. I’ve just come back from a holiday in Spain and I really missed it.”

Dennis Lee, 74 from Rainworth instructs members on how to do wood turning, making bowls and other circular objects.

He said: “Sitting by yourself at home watching TV is no good at all, so Ibecame a volunterre here and I’ve passed on my skills to other people. I’ve been in the trade since 1955.

“We get people from all walks of life - miners, engineers, chemists - there’s a surgeon who worked at King’s Mill Hospital. It is very therapeutic.”

Nicky Whedon, project manager said: “What we typically find is that there are activities out there for retired people but often they appeal to the ladies rather than the men.

“Men in Sheds is an exclusively male-only project.

“This is about our members, it’s their ‘shed’. We have members meetings - the members decide what they want to make, how they want to make it, where we sell things, arrange craft fairs where they sell what they have made and in that way we generate money and put back into the project.

“They take an active part in running it and many become volunteers for the project.”

The Blidworth shed on the Burma Road Industrial Estate is open Monday to Thursday and each session costs £1.50. Call 01623 797750 for details.