New Community Shed opens its doors

Founder Members of GatewaySHED +Sybil Ralphs+Rebecca Done -sm

A communal Shed in which men and women can meet up, share hobbies and make friends was officially opened last Sunday by Leader of the Council, Sybil Ralphs and Chair of the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Peter Kent-Baguley. The GatewaySHED’s open event was held on Sunday 5th June and enabled people to look around the workshop facilities and be inspired as to what they could make, create or build with recycled and repurposed items.

Over the last few months, existing members have renovated a derelict garage in the rear grounds of the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek, to create a workshop or Shed space, where members can share the tools and equipment they need to learn new skills and work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace.

Gateway Shed on Vols day-sm

Founder member, Cliff Deighton said, “The aim has been to create a friendly and inclusive workshop space where people can come together to work on individual or community projects. We’ve been inspired by the Men’s Shed movement which started in Australia back in the 1990’s. We wanted to create our own version of a Shed to offer workshop facilities to those who don’t have their own garden Shed or garage or who would like to make things in the company of others – learning new skills and chatting along the way.”

The community Shed is being supported by Royal Voluntary Service which exists to enrich the lives of older people and to ensure that they can continue to live life to the full. They work in partnership with the UK Men’s Sheds Association to support Sheds to set up across the UK.

Jo Phillips, Royal Voluntary Service’s Sheds National Project Manager, who lives in Leek, said, “It’s great to have been involved in setting up a Shed in my home town. There are now over 300 Sheds across the UK – and their benefits are clearly evidenced as places for sharing tools and learning new skills alongside others, but they also provide great social, physical and health benefits to their members, as people make and create in a friendly and inclusive environment. I’m now a signed up member of the GatewaySHED and have already learnt so many new skills as a Shedder during the renovation process!”

The official opening of the Foxlowe GatewaySHED took place during the Volunteer’s Day activities at the Foxlowe Arts Centre. Anyone interested in joining the GatewaySHED – is invited to visit during current opening times, Tues 10-4 and Sat 10-4, visit the GatewaySHED Facebook page, phone 07423 471 018 or  email: To find out more information about Men’s Sheds across the UK visit