Bognor community project provides men a ‘good space away from home’ to talk and share practical skills

Terry Everest, Adam Bell (Bognor Bike Community CIC), John Steed, Jimbo Torrent, Dave Picton, Zak Thomas
Terry Everest, Adam Bell (Bognor Bike Community CIC), John Steed, Jimbo Torrent, Dave Picton, Zak Thomas

A national project which provides a ‘safe and secure environment’ for men to talk and share practical skills has come to Bognor.

In conjunction with West Sussex County Council and led by Danny Dawes, who is known for running Grandad’s Front Room in the town, Men’s Sheds had its open day on Sunday at 1A Dickinson Place, Durban Road.

Danny said: “The open day was a huge success.

“We will be offering a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice and share skills and enjoy making and mending.”

Danny said the scheme provides men a ‘good space away from home’.

He added: “Men are famous for not talking, or going to the doctor, when they need to.

“We are giving people a place to talk and express their feelings in a safe and secure environment.

“They can talk to people who are all in the same or similar situation.

“It will cost £25 for the year, or just £1 a visit.”

Danny encouraged people to visit the shed to get help repairing broken items or simply to have a coffee and a chat if they are struggling.

“We encourage people to come down and repair things or build something they might need,” he said.

“We will do classes in furniture redecoration, arts and crafts, waxing, painting and anything else that people want. We will have some tables and chairs just for people to have a cup of coffee and a chat,

“We had 27 people sign up to be members on the open day, all with different skills sets. Everything is covered now. We’ve got designers, engineers, the lot.

“One lady came in and ordered a coffee table, whilst another asked for a dining table.”

Danny said the idea for the project was ‘planted’ at his community front room and the team will be looking to ‘save money and the environment’.

“It all came about from the community front room. It is for people to chat to each other,” Danny explained.

“The seed was planted in Grandad’s Front Room. Four people are now working with me, who are all ex-military.

“We are trying to re use material to enable us to keep going for longer. We will be holding a tool amnesty for people to donate tools that are not being used and maybe wasting away in the garage.

“It is all about recycling and old skills being used and shared. Saving money and the environment. If someone has something that is broken and needs fixing, they can bring it to us and help us fix it, saving money in the long run.”

Danny said he hopes to soon see a similar project brought in for children and women,

He said: “We are trying to put together a winning shed.

“Eventually, we would also like to run something similar for juniors. That would be a great way of passing on practical skills to the younger generation who are just not taught them.”

See also: Star Wars actor officially opens Selsey Men in Sheds project