November 2020 Update

Apologies from the web jockey for not updating things here, much to deal with.  My ducks are beginning to resemble a row formation so herewith an update.

It is now 8 months since the first lockdown began on 23rd March 2020.  We have all become very familiar with what this virus has done to everyone, from individuals to families to the NHS, to businesses and to our social lives.  Unfortunately and for very good reason we have had to remain closed as a face-to-face operational Men’s Shed, but this has not meant nothing has happened.  There have been a fair number of smaller and larger things added or improved, and key individuals have been able to go into the shed singly in order to continue transforming what was a blank and underused space into the Banchory Men’s Shed.  Thanks are due to Paul, Alan P, and others for continuing to push forward, and a summary from chairman Paul Evans follows…

“What we did in lockdown”

Premises

As you may have read in older updates, the building work was completed by McCombie Building Ltd. in February and the Shed was briefly opened in March, to the great delight of everyone who had worked so hard since April 2015 when the Banchory Shed was first mooted.  By then, we had the building complete, decorating all finished, and the Social Area in good shape with furniture and with carpet tiles provided by Duncan’s. It needed some more work to organise the Workshop properly, as we had basically thrown everything we owned in there. It was not a tidy sight.   During the lockdown, we have put a final touch to the building fabric by installing roller blinds to help keep the sun out of our eyes – very necessary as many will know.  Still, the sun keeps our leccy bill down.

Organisation

COVID-19 precautions meant that the Shed has been closed since 15th March and this necessitated cancellation of the opening ceremony planned for 19 May 2020. Nevertheless, we have managed to keep in contact via weekly Zoom meetings on Tuesday mornings, and in addition, Paul, Alan and others have continued visiting singly to progress organisation and tidying up of the workshop and various other things, some of which below

Finance

We have also made progress in a number of financial areas.   Age Scotland awarded us £500 for installation of fibre broadband, which is now in and working. As we are registered for Business Rates we were also eligible for a generous Coronavirus Business Support Scheme grant which has proven extremely useful.  The GVC Fund awarded the Shed just over £2,000 to buy two eBikes, with associated equipment and insurance, which we have done.  The Scottish Government Community Wellbeing Fund also funded the first-year costs of a full Zoom license which has meant we have been able to hold our Tuesday morning meetings without hesitation, repetition or indeed interruption by their 40 minutes limit on the free package.

One issue we are tackling is that HMRC are requiring the Shed to submit Corporation Tax returns.  This may be because for some reason the Shed (as a Charity) was also registered as a Company in its early days, and according to Companies House still is.  We thought that we had challenged this, but our Treasurer is now taking up the matter with them, so we hope this can be put to bed before too long.

Our famous blue shipping container, kindly donated by McIntosh Plant, and accommodated by the Legion, next to their building, served us well for 5 years to store equipment in readiness for our own premises.  It finally outlived its usefulness (and its planning permission!) with the opening of the Shed and we have managed to dispose of it advantageously.  We regretfully also needed to find a new home for the excellent trailer kindly donated by Dave Thomson’s widow and as we were unable to continue to store it managed to sell it for funds.

Equipment

There have been some significant finds in terms of workshop machines and tools.

A lady in Aberdeen offered us a pre-owned ML7 metalworking lathe in fantastic condition and with many accessories and materials, and we were fortunate enough to be able to meet the asking price.  We expect there to be considerable demand to use this machine as it is a quality bit of kit.

A second-hand metalworking bench with a large vice has been purchased, and a woodworking bench with a woodworking vice was kindly donated by Inchmarlo Community Workshop.  A second-hand dust extractor and a planer / thicknesser have been purchased, both from Westhill Men’s Shed. Thank you to all of these other local Men’s Sheds.

Finally, and as mentioned above, two eBikes were purchased from Halfords in October to meet funder’s requirements, even though some of the associated activity is limited until 2021.

Computers & IT

One of our target activities is to provide various computer familiarisation and training capabilities, so we have again been fortunate in several areas, in addition to the fibre broadband mentioned above.

We have been kindly donated a 3D printer and after some initial work on getting it running we have found our next need is the CAD software necessary to build the 3D models needed by the printer, so we are now working on that.

Also, the Shed now has three donated laptops, usable for general or training use.  These run a mixture of Windows and Linux – the older machines only ran old unsupported copies of Windows and a Linux version specifically targeted at older machines has given these a new lease of life.  (Linux is quite similar to Windows XP/7 and is quite easy to pick up, whether you are used to Windows or Apple). We are looking at upgrading the graphics card of one of these to enable an external monitor to be used to its full resolution, such as for CAD and the 3D printer.

A second-hand and high-powered desktop PC and a 30” monitor were also bought cheaply and together with a pair of donated speakers they serve as a good audiovisual system.

As you will know, the Shed has this website, plus accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google My Business, eBay, Amazon, Gumtree, Freecycle and others.  So we have gone where no Shed has gone before, sought out new worlds and new civilisations.

And finally

Our membership has been climbing one by one, some achievement, I think, with a closed shed.  If anyone new or old is in need of any support during these times, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, the key contacts are on our Contacts page, and we also look forward to seeing you when we open again once the vaccine has been rolled out.

Properly understand how COVID-19 is spread

Whilst Scotland, Wales and NI are taking a more cautious approach than England is, at some point we will also be starting to relax the precautions we have been taking to reduce COVID-19 transmission, so it’s not too early to start understanding how one can catch this bug, hence how we can do our best to avoid it.

As many will realise, 2m distancing is overly simplistic and there are many other factors involved. This article was brought to our attention by a member’s daughter from the US, where they look to be following the national line and starting to open up anyway. It’s a 10 minute read, but worth doing as it may save you many many lots of 10 minutes in a hospital bed.

Read Erin Bromage’s article here

Age Scotland Helpline

From Tim Green at Age Scotland:

“At Age Scotland our teams are working from home staffing the Age Scotland helpline through a virtual call centre. The helpline, 0800 12 44 222, provides advice, information and friendship for the over 50s. Please pass on the number to anyone who might be able to make use of it.”

Thank you, Tim.

BMS meetings during COVID-19 lockdown

Just as we got the Shed up and running, so we were required to stay at home to help everyone through these strange times. So be it.

The Banchory Men’s Shed may not be meeting in person, but like almost everyone these days we are taking advantage of video conferencing.  We have replaced our Tuesday real-life meetings with a Zoom meeting at the same time, Tuesday mornings, 10:30-12:00.

If you want to join in, even if you are not yet a member and are thinking of joining, please contact banchorymensshed@gmail.com or membership.bms@gmail.com so we can e-mail you the meeting link and we look forward to seeing you.

Cancellation of Opening Ceremony

After 5 years of hard work and ultimately success, The Bugwe regret to have to publish the following announcement from our Chairman:


Dear Members and Supporters of Banchory and District Men’s Shed,

Following the cancellation because of the Coronavirus precautions of the Aberdeenshire Wellbeing Festival with which it was timed to coincide, we regret to announce that the Banchory and District Men’s Shed’s Opening Ceremony on 19 May is also cancelled.

The Men’s Shed is closed for weekly meetings and all other activities until further notice.

Thank you for all your support during our long journey towards completion of our premises at Legion Scotland.  We look forward to welcoming you there when the emergency is over.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Evans

Chairman
Banchory and District Men’s Shed

A message from the Banchory Legion Chairman

We are delighted to have received the following message from Alistair Black:


Banchory Men’s Shed

It is a pleasure and delight to now see the Banchory Men’s Shed open for business at Legion Scotland’s Banchory Branch and Club building, at Ramsay Road, Banchory.  The organisers have endured a long hard struggle to finally reach this point and they deserve a huge accolade for what they have achieved.  It is also the culmination of an idea mooted back in late 2015 and as covered in the Legion Scotland Today magazine.

I am delighted for two reasons.  Firstly, the area they now occupy needed to be used constructively, usefully and in sympathy with the building.  But secondly and more importantly, the values of the Men’s Shed movement mirror those of the Legion, that is, to provide facilities where men young and old can go and enjoy social connections, build friendships, share skills and knowledge, and of course create a lot of laughter.

The Legion works along the same lines as the Men’s Shed in that we are responsible for enhancing the wellbeing and comradeship of our members.  Similarly, where the Legion can, we will get involved in community projects even though we are more geared to the serving the ex-service community.

The Banchory Men’s Shed is always looking to boost their membership and they are very much hoping that as well as civilian members they will attract ex-service personnel.  So if as an ex-serviceman you feel you can help, or feel you need help, or you would just like to converse with like-minded people, then go along and see what it is all about.  It costs nothing and could quite easily be a life changing experience for some of you.

Alistair Black

Legion Scotland Branch/Club Chairman


 

March Business Meeting – Thursday 12th March

Reminder of our bi-monthly Business Meeting this Thursday. All members welcome. The agenda is largely around what we are going to do with the facility now we are up and running. Some of them are old ideas, some new.

Non-members interested are also welcome, i.e. anyone interested in joining or other non-members. (Only members can vote).

The meeting is at:

Banchory Men’s Shed new premises

beneath the British Legion Scotland

Ramsay Road, Banchory

Thursday  12th March at 2:00 p.m.

Chairs ready for the meeting...

Chairs ready for the meeting…


Mission Impossible Possible

After nearly 5 years, since 16th April 2015, we finally have proper premises for the Banchory Men’s Shed.  It was all going to be so easy, but more on that another time.

Completion of the build on 7th February left us with a social area echoing to the sound of a concrete floor, but only 2 weeks later, on Monday 24th February, we had ourselves a carpet too, with walls all painted between-times by a bunch of Shedders.

We can now set about laying out the Workshop room as a workshop rather than for rather cramped dual purposes, and can look at what we need in the social area too. Whilst opening times will remain for the moment at 10:30-12:00 every Tuesday, it may not be long before we start opening up at other times.

A big event on the horizon is an Official Opening which will be on

Tuesday 19th May 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

Full details in due course.

At this point we would like to thank again everyone involved in bringing our Shed to fruition, with key external parties being Gerry and Adam Robb of Gerry Robb Architectural Services, Bruce McCombie and his crew, Duncans of Banchory, and of course Craig, Alastair and co. in the Banchory Legion, not forgetting Susie for the refreshments which kept us going!  Too many thanks to list Shed members, but you know who you are.

Our membership has been growing steadily since we opened the Phase 1 Workshop and now we have full premises we expect further growth.

In financial terms, we managed to bring in the Banchory Men’s Shed for a total of around £76,000 all-in (Phases 1 and 2), compared to a first estimate back in 2015 of upwards of £120,000 plus the VAT.  This is a creditable performance by all concerned.  Nevertheless, we did run into some issues, notably finding a granite formation protruding into where the floor needed to be, needing some significant rock-breaking by Bruce’s team, and hence we went over even our budget contingency.  We have consumed all grant monies and our bank reserves and are now of the order of £2,000 short once all invoices are in.  If you would like to help, please see our Funding page.  Many thanks.