I went along to meet some of the people over 50 who are getting involved at the Time to Shine project The Great Outdoors, and see what they are getting up to!
50+ Wood Squad, which runs every Monday and Thursday afternoon at Hollybush Conservation Centre, Kirkstall, is a fabulous project for people over 50 to share and develop woodworking skills and meet new people with similar interests. It is one of several activities designed by Project Officer, Gareth Muir
Gareth explained that all the materials used are recycled and that the products are then used to contribute to other projects in the community.
I met some very creative people! One participant was making a very impressive wheelbarrow planter which looked like it needed some skill to create. He told me that he was a trained carpenter and that he had all the tools to do this kind of work in his shed at home, but that here he got to meet other people and to share his skills. His shed at home kept him isolated.
Another had designed his own triangular shaped planter and had been helped by the skilled volunteers to bring his design to life. He was very proud of the results and rightly so!
One of the younger men in the group told me that he had had to retire through illness and that he tired really quickly, which often made him consider staying at home. However, this activity allowed him to go at his own pace, got him out of the house and doing something practical and gave him a chance to talk to others.
This was a mixed group, with several women who were thoroughly enjoying getting stuck in to practical woodworking tasks and getting support from staff and volunteers who were giving tips and advice on how to use tools safely. The women told me how they had always envied the boys at school as they went off to woodwork and left the girls to needlework! They were really appreciating the opportunity to redress that!
The group all stopped for tea and chocolates halfway through which gave everyone the chance to chat and get to know each other. Everyone was very warm and welcoming and I would recommend anyone who fancies learning new skills to go along and meet Gareth and his team.
Programme Manager (Legacy)