I refer to Charles McLaughlin’s letter in the Gazette last week concerning Staithes and the matter of the mast.
I am not entering into the debate on location because I am not a Staithes resident and I do not know the technical or community factors that are in play.
However, I am involved in starting “Sheds” at Staithes for the benefit of the village and the wider area.
Men’s Sheds were established in Littlebeck well over two years ago and subsequently in Whitby, and a Women’s Shed on the same principle.
What do Sheds do? Put simply, they do people good by reviving self-confidence, restoring a sense of belonging and bringing back smiles (most of the time!)
They are intended to attract people feeling on the outside of life needing a “lift”.
It’s done through active, creative “distraction” by the Shedders themselves.
The Staithes Area Sheds will use an outbuilding on the Athletic and Social Club’s site.
For some parties that might be a barrier because it may appear we are somehow taking sides.
It has even been suggested that it may inhibit people coming to the Sheds.
I hope that will not be the case, certainly not for the people who will benefit from it.
The obvious question is whether there was an alternative location in the area for the Sheds.
We consulted local knowledge and organisations who might have unused parts of premises (for instance, churches).
We did that last autumn when the opportunity for Sheds was first discussed and again more recently.
There are no other premises that can provide suitable space for a workshop.
In Littlebeck we use the hall of the Methodist Chapel.
In Whitby it is the stage of a Scout Hall.
We have to be flexible.
Sheds are social places which also like to help communities in things they do.
Organisationally social too, therefore which become a part of the community.
They are not a building with equipment, as it were.
We will not start a Shed in Staithes until probably July because the premises first need some work and needs to be equipped (thankfully by the grant from the People’s Health Trust).
However, we will be doing preparatory work on Mondays starting April 23 and we will welcome people dropping by to chat or even join in. We’ll put some “at home” signs up when we are there.
Please contact me on 07763 656627 with any questions or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do look at the Whitby Area Sheds website to see a bit of the bantering atmosphere at www.whitbysheds.co.uk.
There will be a separate website for Staithes Area Sheds in the near future and we’d welcome anyone contacting who is interested in that kind of technology. All part of a Shed!
If you have any “stuff” that you think might be of use to the Sheds do not hesitate to make contact.