Men retreat to their sheds

December 21 2016

Martyn Poole is on the Parish Council and is in charge of the welfare of senior members (oldies to me - but as one myself I can call us that!) of the Downend and Bromley Heath area.


Martyn Poole is on the Parish Council and is in charge of the welfare of senior members (oldies to me - but as one myself I can call us that!) of the Downend and Bromley Heath area.

For a little while he has run a group called Knit and Knatter which meets in the library on a Monday at 10am. The members of the group have recently knitted (the name is fairly self explanatory) a fabulous Christmas Tree which stands in the entrance of the library. They have also started knitting red poppies which will be used to adorn the Scout Memorial next year in Downend. For those of you that don't know, Downend can proudly boast the only Boy Scout War Memorial on public land in the country. It was built in 1921 to commemorate members of the 1st Downend Scout Troop who lost their lives in the First World War.  

Martyn attends the group and says ‘they knit and I natter’ but felt that as it was mainly attended by ladies he would like to organise something targeted at men.  He decided to start a group based on an Australian idea, where men meet up in someone's shed and make things . This gives the men an opportunity to socialise together - something apparently men aren't always as good at as ladies (not sure that is true as my Dave seems to manage quite well!)

Anyway Martyn found a venue, managed to get a small amount of funding to get started and Men and their Tools was born. At first a core of about six men would turn up but numbers are growing and they now have an attendance of between 12-15 men every week. There is a lot of banter and coffee drinking which goes on but they do work very hard as well! 

As Martyn is also in our Downend and Bromley Heath in Bloom group (does he ever stop?) we put in a request for 20 wooden planters for the High Street. This led to the group also making similar planters for us to sell at Heathfest. 

They have also carried out various projects such as raising floor heights and making ramps where there are steps into houses. This has allowed easier access for the elderly and wheelchair bound within the parish.

Another project they undertook was to provide wooden items for D&BH in Bloom to sell at the Cleeve Wood Christmas event. I had trawled the internet for ideas and found various ideas which included a trio of Father Christmas made from logs, white wooden Christmas trees and logs with night lights in.

They embarked on this work in early October and finally finished in mid December. They made around 70 Father Christmases, 50 trees and 25 logs. What an incredible feat! We made over £1,000 on selling all of these items and this money will be going towards next year’s floral displays around the area. We also used the Santas for our "Find the Father Christmas" competition in December.

In the New Year the men have a big assignment to focus on - they are making a sensory garden at a local special school. They are putting in decking and wooden planters to enhance the lives of the children that attend the school - what a great and exciting project to be involved with. 

And if they don't have enough to occupy them I think D&BH in Bloom are also hoping to find something that they may be able to make for the Easter celebrations.

They meet on Tuesday mornings between 9.30am and noon at King George V pavilion in Sutherland Avenue - you never know you might even get a coffee!  Also if anyone has any woodworking machinery or tools they no longer use and would like to donate then please go along and let them know. 

Finally on behalf of the men from the group and from D&BH in Bloom we thank Shaun of Timber and Sheets Ltd for the donation of wood which has enabled these projects to take place.

Jackie Baker