The Community Workshop has been set up by AMP to provide a place to share and learn practical skills. Based in the Annexe behind the Town Hall we expect it will be used by a number of groups and clubs, the first of which are the Men's Shed and the Repair Cafe. Some funding generously provided by Cumbria County Council and the National Lottery/Ikea has covered our costs for the first year and has allowed us to purchase some tools and equipment in addition to those kindly donated by local residents. Membership of the Community Workshop is by a suggested voluntary donation of £10 per year.
We have been keen to set up a Men’s Shed in Alston for some time now, and the opportunity to work with the Community Workshop and the already well established Alston Moor Repair Café came to fruition early in 2022 with the lease of the Annexe behind the Town Hall in Alston.
At present the Alston Men’s Shed is open on Wednesdays between 1pm and 3pm for men to get together, drink tea and make some sawdust – current projects include the refurbishment of benches and picnic tables, and the provision of some ‘Olde Worlde’ amusements for the Fairhill Recreation Ground, but we are open to suggestions for activities from our membership. Some suggestions for future projects (if there's enough interest) include pottery, model railways, wood carving, and model engineering. We ask for a donation of £2 per week to go towards the cost of the Custard Creams and other essentials.
We will be opening the Men’s Shed on a second day soon as demand increases, possibly on Sunday afternoons, and also starting Open Workshop sessions, where members can bring their own projects and use the tools in the workshop.
Repair Cafes are held at the Annexe every month, where a team of skilled volunteers will help you to fix a wide variety of household items that might otherwise be thrown away and sent to landfill, and give them a second life – so if your toaster has gone POP or the zip failed on your jacket etc, bring it along to the next Repair Café and we’ll see what we can do. Once we've diagnosed the problem, we'll discuss with you the cost of any replacement parts required, but otherwise this service is free. However if you can make a donation toward our running costs, it all help to pay the rent!
We hope soon to be able to introduce some teaching sessions on how to fix certain household things, and maybe some basic introductions to other skills, such as welding, joinery, pottery, blacksmithing etc. as our membership increases and skilled people join our group who are keen to pass on some of their knowledge.
We're also collecting tools for a Tool Library soon where members can rent for minimal cost the one piece of equipment that they need to complete a job around the house or garden. Please get in touch if you have some DIY or gardening equipment that you no longer need that we can add to the Library.
Footnote - The Alston Community Workshop currently incorporates the Alston Men’s Shed and the Alston Moor Repair Café, and in time the Repair Café will host a Tool Library and an Evening Classes group. Other sub groups for the Community Workshop can easily be added depending upon demand.