Retired men shed their boredom


RETIRED Scots men will have the chance to share their skills, friendship and banter in sheds set up by a new community project.

A volunteer project in East Lothian hopes to give men a place to escape from the outside world to their workbenches, craftwork and companionship.

A shed in Aberdeen is about to open its doors to men who want to give something back to the local community.

Ms Kidd and Mr Cartmell


The idea of “community sheds” began in Autralia, and sheds in England are already in full swing.

Brian Cartmell, 77, was a member of the Men In Sheds project in Kendal,Cumbria.

Eager to recreate the shed experience in East Lothian, he contacted his local volunteer centre to look for like-minded men.

He said: “They welcomed me with open arms as I was a retired boat builder, it was just the job.

“I found I was repairing furniture, sharpening tools, more importantly I was using my hands and keeping my brain going.

“The company was great and I built up many friendships”.

Mr Cartmell, a retired boat-builder, said sheds gave him a chance to keep using his skills.

He said: “Women go to things like the WI, men go to sheds.

“It’s their private time. It’s a chance for guys to escape from the rest of the world.”

Mr Cartmell, who recently moved to Gifford in East Lothian, said:
“There’s always a cup of tea on the go and biscuits. I missed it when I left.”

He usually spent three or four mornings a week in the shed.

The Men In Sheds in Kendal taught teenagers in the area trades and around 50 volunteers were involved with the project.

The men were able to refurbish furniture and organise day-trips.



The Volunteer Centre East Lothian is setting up the project, and is looking for other men to sign up before they find a shed.

Lesley Kidd, development manager at the centre, said the response has been good so far.

She said: “A shed is opening up in Aberdeen shortly. They’re using a disused library.

“We’ve been going round East Lothian and everyone seems to have taken to the idea.

“Most sheds are being run three or four times a week.

“Community sheds have been used for lots of things. One in England gets found property from the police, so the men in sheds go out and find the owners.”

The size of the East Lothian shed, whether it’s a tiny back-garden affair or a bigger complex inside a warehouse. will depend on the number of volunteers who sign up.