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Local Shed News

Successful AGM
Almost 20 men attended the AGM at the Shed on 22nd March, along with a few supporters and carers. The Steering committee (Ivor Dixon, Chair; Colin Gorton, Secretary; Malcolm Turner, Treasurer; William Salmon, Membership) was re-elected en bloc with David Martin as an additional member, and Dave Donaldson was tasked with forming a small Shed committee of users to oversee day to day organisation.
The meeting agreed an annual membership of £15 and a suggested per session contribution of £3 to cover running costs. Our financial affairs are in good order, thanks in no small part to successful fund raising and some very generous donations of equipment.
Sadly, none present felt able to volunteer for the post of Shed Supervisor, which puts a strain on existing supervisors and means we have little or no flexibility of opening hours.

Well attended opening
We had over 50 visitors at our opening and press day on 29th Jan, so all in all a very successful event. We received a cheque from Cllr David Fothergill on behalf of Somerset County Council, a joint contribution from Clls Fothergill, Hall and Brown, who were all present. SLaMS Hub Shed was opened by Anne Oxley, the recently appointed Director of Services for UK Men's Shed Association, and we had Shedders from Frome Shed present as well as a good crowd of our own members, plus a number of individuals and organisations interested is cooperating with us and possibly starting their own Sheds. Full report to follow, plus pictures. Look out for reports in your local newspapers.

We are now open 'for business' every Tuesday, from 9.30 - 12.30 and Thursdays from 1.30 - 4.30. Do drop in and find out more about our Shed, there are plenty of projects to join in with as we try to complete our fitting out of the premises. Thanks to everyone who worked hard to get the place ready for Friday's event.

SLaMS hub to open 29th January
We have more or less finished the electrical installation and are starting on constructing the partitions and workbenches and installing a basic kitchen at The Levels Basket Centre. We now have heat, light, working power points and toilets. There is still quite a lot of work still to do, and we need more help from members to do it, but with our secured funding we are confident to press on with the conversion and equipping of the hub Shed.

Our intention is to have an 'official' opening on Friday Jan 29th, when local people, community organisations, funders and potential members can come along and find out more about the project, talk to the committee and existing members and see some of the work that has been done so far and some of the projects we are working on. There will, we hope, be some guests and maybe even the local media.

New Hub premises for SLaMS
As the Myrtle Tree Farm premises were proving too expensive to convert within our limited budget, we have been looking for a more economic alternative.

We have now been offered space within the Somerset Levels Basket & Craft Centre, on the A361 near Burrowbridge. The floods have receded and the building has dried out and is in surprisingly good condition, but will need some work to bring it back into use. We have an area about 8m x 11m, with level access through double doors from the car park. Part will be partitioned off as a kitchen/social area. We'll also have to improve the electrics and toilets and do some cleaning and decorating. There will be benches to make, tools to collect and refurbish and materials for projects to aquire. If you would like to volunteer to help with this part of the project, or donate anything to it, please use the contact us form or call 01458 250603.

Now that we have secured premises for a workshop, and some seed funding, our plans are to start sessions there early in January, but refurbishment needs to start immediately.

Surprise visitor to SLaMS Barbecue
Jo Phillips, Project Manager – Men’s Sheds for the Royal Voluntary Service, paid a surprise visit to the Barbecue and public meeting held by SLaMS at Myrtle Tree Farm, near Burrowbridge on October 1st. Jon Alexander, from the SLaMS Steering Group, brought along his almost complete, road-legal hot rod style self-built car.

'Most of the Sheds I have visited in the last 6 months would be content to build model cars or push along toy ones – this is something else!' said Jo. 'It is great to see the enthusiasm for a Men's Shed in this area of Somerset. It fills a very large gap on the map and I'm determined to do all I can to help SLaMS make it happen as quickly as possible.

'Shoulder to Shoulder - UKMSA newsletter
You can find the latest copy of the UK Men's Shed Association newsletter here. Click and find out what is happening elsewhere in the country.

Barbecue and public meeting - Oct 1st
To show members
and friends our plans for the future, and raise awareness of our Sheds project, we are holding an informal public meeting at Myrtle Tree Farm on Oct 1st. We'll be open so that you can drop in from 3pm until dark, and there will be a barbecue (donations to cover cost of food). We hope some members will bring along projects that they are currently working on or want help to complete. We'll also have some examples of things other Sheds do.

It will be a chance to meet the Steering committee, talk through your expectations of what a Shed should provide, or offer to help in any way. We hope to see as many as possible there. Download the flyer here.

Tuesday Men - SLaMS at The Angel
While we work on the conversion of our Hub at Saltmoor we will be holding informal, regular meetings at The Angel in Bow Street, Langport. There is convenient free parking nearby and cafe facilities, and it is served by several bus routes. There won't be space for a full range of activities but it will be a friendly place to meet and discuss our plans for the future.

We'll meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, from 10 to 12, starting on 8th September. Our thanks to the good folks at The Angel and to Huish and Langport Opportunities (HaLO) for their cooperation.

If we can find other premises that would be more convenient for our friends west of the Parrett, and/or in Somerton, we will consider starting a similar group there.

New Web Site for SLaMS
Now that things are moving quickly and it looks as if our project is gaining critical mass and will have a future, the steering committee decided that the time was right to establish a web site of our own, rather than this 'borrowed space'.

We are pleased to announce that has been registered and is now up and running. Let us have your comments of the items you woud like to see included, content is being added all the time, so keep re-visiting to get the latest information.

SLaMS Steering Committee
A Steering Committe has been set up to allow us to adopt a constitution apply for financial backing for the project and work towards establishing a charity to run it in the future. If you have comments about any matter relating to SLaMS or Men's Sheds, please contact the Committee at

The Committee is made up currently of six people, Chairman: Ivor Dixon; Secretary: Colin Gorton; Treasurer: Malcolm Turner; Members: Steve Wilton, William Salmon, Jon Alexander.

Second public meeting at Burrowbridge
Many things have happened since our original meeting, so we plan another on April 7th at 7pm in the Coronation Hall, Burrowbridge to bring you up to date.

Please come along if you can, it is important that we have everyone's views in order that our Shed(s) reflect the local situation.

This time we will be in the small meeting room at the back of the hall and the meeting will be a formal one, starting promptly at 7pm. Please use the side door as another event is taking place in the main hall.

If you can't make the meeting, read our latest newsletter here

1st April 2015

Somerset Levels and Moors Sheds
SLaMS - a group with plans for a Men's Shed in the Somerset Levels and Moors will explain the project at Burrowbridge Village Hall on Wednesday 11 March from 14:00 to 16:00 and again from 19:00 to 21:00. Colin Gorton from Stoke St Gregory Baptist Church and Ivor Dixon from Level Opportunities in Langport are cooperating with other organisations that recognise the need to provide a space for men who have time on their hands by being retired, between jobs, or may never have had a job, or who may feel isolated, especially after last year's flooding.

Men’s Sheds are community-based, dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting places where men can get involved in a variety of mutually agreed activities. They are open to all men, regardless of age, background or ability, who can undertake projects which may benefit individuals, other groups and the broader community. They offer a safe environment for friendship and socialising while providing space, facilities and shared expertise for men to pursue hobbies and creative activities.

Some men will bring their skills to the Shed and happily share them with others, whilst others may be more comfortable simply to sit and chat. The Shed is a "Stress-Free Zone" where the kettle will be on the boil and a cuppa and bickie always available!

Anyone, not just men, who wants to know more, to join the group, help with the organisation or who may be able to provide premises, tools or resources should contact or call Ivor Dixon on 01458 250603 or Colin Gorton on 01823 698612.

10th Feb 2015

Do you know of any suitable premises?

SLaMS is looking for suitable premises to set up new Sheds in the area. We hope to run a central 'hub' with satellite Sheds in outlying communities. This will economise on volunteers' time, administration time and costs and enable us to make best use of any specialist or expensive equipment. To be successful, a Shed needs to be about 25 to 30 square metres in the main area, and be reasonably secure. It must have mains services to provide water (we can't manage without a cup of tea), a toilet, electricity and preferably level access and nearby parking.

If we can't find premises that are immediately suitable it may be possible to take on any refurbishment work as a project, subject to finding funding.

An alternative may be to 'bus' Shedders in from outlying settlements and use the facilities of the 'hub' more intensively by opening at different times.

4th Mar 2015