Selkirk Shedders find their home from home

The inaugural meeting of Selkirk Community Shed.
The inaugural meeting of Selkirk Community Shed.

After almost four years in the making, Selkirk Community Shed is finally up and running.

The Selkirk shedders moved into their base at the former Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team building yesterday and are wasting no time in encouraging people from all walks of life through its doors.

Group chairman Nick de Burgh Whyte said: “Rather than just taking a slice of Selkirk’s community, we are creating a shed which will encourage men – and women – over the age of 18 to get involved. We can then offer a much broader menu of activities.

“Typically a men’s shed is old men making birdboxes and drinking tea. We are still going to be making birdboxes, bookshelves, the odd rabbit hutch and a bit of basic upholstery, but we’ll also have a drop-in centre where people can come in off the street to interact with other people. We want to, in some way, counteract social isolation.

“We know there are people out there who are lonely, isolated or perhaps have an illness and are sick of daytime television. Come in for a cuppa and have a chat.”

But the plans don’t stop there.

“We’ll also offer computer classes, using the school’s computer suite, a disabled accessible community garden, bicycle repair works and quigong-style simplified tai chi classes,” he said.

“We also think it’s very important to work with the high school and have a range of intergenerational activities planned, including, in the long term, setting up plant and bike repair businesses with the kids.

“It will come under the curriculum umbrella of employability, and we’ll also cover things like teaching youngsters how to shake hands with people and write a CV.”

Moving into their new home yesterday marked a major milestone for the shedders.

“The original idea of a shed started four years ago and it was a question of trying to find a suitable building,” Nick added.

“We are really grateful to Scottish Borders Council. They have been falling over themselves to help us. We are paying £1 a year for this building – that’s how helpful they have been.

“Here we have got a perfect blend of a building, facilities for outside activities, a close link to the high school and the opportunity to offer a range of activities, as well as the Argus Centre right next door, should we need it.”

And with plenty of redecorating and refurbishment plans afoot, the 30-strong group, which has already amassed an abundance of donated tools, is keen to welcome anyone who can lend a hand.

Nick added: “We would like more women to come along. We could’ve made it a men’s shed and had this building full of men tomorrow morning, but that’s not what we want. We want women and young people too.”

The shed will be open each Tuesday and Thursday initially between 10am and 4pm, with the aim of increasing those hours once different activities are finalised. Visit their stall at tomorrow’s farmers’ market in Market Place, visit their facebook page or email: selkirkshedders@gmail.com