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“It felt awesome to be back together as a Shed” Orkney Men’s Shed Update

By Simon Brodie

A place for everything and everything in its place

Last time I wrote about the Orkney Men’s Shed (OMS) we were still setting up whilst awaiting OIC finalisation of paperwork. That paperwork is still ongoing at the moment, but OIC have given us a 3-month dispensation so that we can meet as a Shed, prior to the paperwork being finalised. This week (06 June) was the first week that we met, as a ‘proper’ Shed, since the start of lockdown, and it felt awesome to be back together as a Shed.

We have been continuing to set up the workshop storage area and also to start breaking down the last remaining pallets of stuff and getting the contents all put away in the storage cupboard. We’ll no doubt shuffle things around once we work out what is and isn’t working, but we’re getting there.  Breaking down the last few pallets has opened up the space on the main workshop floor and we’re also able to move the machine tools to where we think they are best located – again, things will probably change at some point, but we do have to start somewhere.

More space in the Workshop

The Computer / Craft room is now set up with 2 working desktop computers for general use and we have a printer on the way. The computers were donated by OrkneyTech who have replaced the old computers with 2 newer, and considerably more capable base units. We’ve also had a couple of personal donations of base units, one of which will probably be used for the OMS Committee’s office, and the other will probably be used for doing Computer Aided Design for 3D printing etc.  We just need another 8-10m of worktop, to set up the wheelchair-accessible craft tables along the other side of the room, and we’ll be sorted in there.

Computers provided by OrkneyTech

The Repair and testing room is also now up and running, which is great for me personally, as I have a very old electric sewing machine I really do need them to have a look at for me. We have also just trained up our first ‘deputy’ PAT tester, which will give us a lot more flexibility in the future when it comes to checking that electrical devices are safe to use.

Items awaiting repair and testing

From an admin side of things, final updates are being made on the current draft of the updated OMS Workshop manual (which includes our Risk Register, OUR machine tools safety sheets, and our Safeguarding procedures). We’re also finalising our new, smaller, membership form too, which will save some paper and reduce membership jargon.

A tidy workshop is a safe workshop

Speaking of membership paperwork, in our first week (technically 2 days) of being open, we got 3 new members. It’s fantastic to see new people coming along and taking part in OMS activities again and we look forward to welcoming them, and you, back to the Shed.

We’re still being contacted to undertake various community tasks in order to to help out local organisations, so there’s always stuff to do at the Shed if you are free and able to come along and help out. Or you can come along and do your own workshop projects, or we have tools and materials for model building, leather-working, woodcarving etc, or if you want to just learn how to use a computer, or chat about hobbies or local memories over a brew and a chocolate biscuit, that’s also fine (and just as important to us).

If you haven’t seen the social media posts, the OMS is in the Blue Door the week of 04 July, so if you have anything you would be willing to donate to us for that, we would be incredibly grateful. Donations can be dropped off at the Shed in Stromness during our opening hours (we’ll also show you round and make you a brew). We’ll also likely be holding a raffle as well, so if you have any items to donate to the raffle, we would again, be glad to accept them down at the Shed.

The OMS now meets in the old Herring Factory in Stromness, on Tuesdays 1000 – 1600 and Thursdays 1000 – 1600. The Thursday opening times will be extended as soon as the replacement lift has been fitted, which will hopefully be over the next couple of months. If you want more details you can find them on the Orkney Men’s Shed Facebook page, or feel free to contact our Chair, Morgan Harcus, on 01856 751362 or Secretary, Andy Swain, on 01856 850218

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