Alan said: “It has been all go on the Shed site with this first major project to get our three new container workshops completed. We set ourselves an ambitious but achievable goal to get it all done by June with a view to holding our open day at the end of July/early August.
“The Shed’s inaugural meeting took place only in September 2021 with five members and since then, so much has been done in such a short space of time.
“We are perfectly situated on Langloch Farm at Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) Scotland with neighbours including the sawmill, Clydesdale Women’s Shed and Lanark in Bloom. We have had a brilliant relationship with our landlord, CCI, from the beginning. They provided us with the start-up costs and we have an agreement in place that we will pay no rent or electricity for two years, which we hope may continue in future years.
“We also could not have done this without the support of our other funders—Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLan) and the National Lottery Community Fund and of course, South Lanarkshire Council.
“Step one of this first project was the insulation and interior batten frame on container 2 then the fitting of the walls and lastly building and installation of the workbenches and large cutting machinery.
“Our new fully fitted smaller container (number 3) arrived in style and craned into location on the 1st June—this will be used as a finishing and small projects Shed. Work benches and hand tools will be purchased and installed to allow members to get started in the new Shed almost immediately.
“Electrical work will then be carried out over all three containers along with the Clydesdale Women’s Shed and Lanark in Bloom’s containers. We are in the process of re-roofing over all of our containers and ‘machinery shop’ with Perspex sheeting, which will provide additional all-weather outdoor work area. “Next, we will build a wood store to the left of container 2 and added shelving. The store will have wood cladding added to the exterior to make it more aesthetically pleasing from the roadside. This space will be used to dry wood all year round.
“The final stage will be to refurbish container 1 for use as a social recreational area suitable for all Shed members to relax and chat over a brew, as well as open up the area to existing and future on-site community groups. The area will also be utilised as a welcoming area for visitors and where we will hear from future guest speakers. There will be an area set aside for a small tea coffee station which will house a coffee machine, small fridge and hopefully soon a microwave for those that may want to heat drinks and/or meals.
“We plan to have some small seating areas which can be used by surrounding clubs and groups whilst still leaving ample room for our requirements. All of our furnishings are light and moveable to allow this multi-purpose space to be set up in a range of different ways.
“Additionally, the current small separate office area will have a desk for the new computer for future training, learning basic computer skills and for general Shed administration and business. We have installed a new laser printer for creating our own merchandise and there will also be a table and chairs to accommodate ‘one on one’ learning, allow small meetings and team calls as well as our monthly zoom conferencing.
“We are extremely fortunate that we will have the ability to open over seven days a week if we require and so have the opportunity to add more groups or open up space for hire to other community groups and bring in some income.
“Plans for the near future include working with Lanark Community Development Trust within the Fairy Dell at Castlebank Park, which has some wildlife woodcarvings which have unfortunately been vandalised. We will be working to replace parts and restore the items to their original beauty for the community to enjoy. In addition, we plan to create some new wooden signage for the park.
“Future plans include incorporating an outdoor seating area for members and visitors to chat and our next major project is to create a Community Tool Library for locals to hire out items for their DIY jobs. We also hope to install solar panels down the line to be more energy efficient and aim to look at an electric vehicle for the Shed’s use. This really is just the beginning for our Shed –there is so much potential for growth and we are extremely excited.”
Lanark Men’s Shed has set up several groups for it’s members since its inception—including it’s guitar club, woodworking group, a WhatsApp group (for updates and chat) and a writers’ club. One of the writing club members, Brian Laidlaw (94), is a renowned published author and the group has recently been asked by the Lanark Community Development Trust to write an article on Lanark history and heritage.
With the Shed’s growing membership currently sitting at 35, its list of activities continues to evolve to meet the needs of its members. The Shed’s latest addition is a popular walking group. Tom Docherty from Lanark Men’s Shed said: “In less than a week of a walking group being discussed, it was up and running and had its first outing.
“There are now plans to have a weekly daytime walk in the Clydesdale countryside around the Shed’s Lanark homebase. The group anticipates future outings further afield into the Highlands and Lowlands.
“A walking group epitomises the Men’s Shed’s definition of ‘providing a supportive environment for people to gather, volunteer, work, teach, learn and seek fellowship with other like-minded people’. Regular hillwalking, or indeed any kind of walking, can improve your heart rate, burn calories as well as activating the hamstrings, glutes and calves. It also boosts stamina and endurance – all health-giving benefits.
“Walking has also been shown to reduce mental stress as well as reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Of course, the most important aspect of walking is that it is fun. There are also excellent photographic opportunities to be had as well as many historical and cultural aspects.
“Any type of walking can be done—from short flat rambles to hill walks, and everything in between. Walks can be tailored to suit an individual group’s needs and abilities.
“Lanark Men’s Shed Walking Group chose a nice, easy walk for its first outing. They set off from just outside Roberton village and headed up a gentle slope, passing an abandoned quarry, to arrive at the bottom of Roberton Law, which was skirted around. An easy downhill section led to a ruined stone sheep fank which provided a convenient seat for a lunch stop.
“The peace and tranquillity throughout the walk was only broken by the interesting discussions about the landscape and scenery. After crossing a small burn, a short stroll led back to the vehicles. All in all, a nice 3½ mile, 1½ hour walk. So, there really are no excuses, why not get your Shed organised with a walking group? It’s good for you and it’s fun.”
Currently, Lanark Men’s Shed is open every Tuesday to Friday from 10.30am to 4.00pm. The Shed is just about to launch its new Facebook page, so keep and eye out for it to follow their journey from here.
Designed & built by Mucky Puddle