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Charity success as Shed goes solar and expands space and members

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Shedders watch Gary Rance's woodturning demonstration on a hot Saturday in June.


Wendover Shed has been advancing on all fronts in the past month: its application to become a charity has been approved, membership is growing, it’s opening three days per week, it has solar power and a start has been made on an outdoor covered space that will double its working area. It held its first educational demonstration, on woodturning, on 10 June.


It was earlier in June that the collaborative craftwork and social interaction group learned that it had succeeded in its application to become a registered charity in record time – it only applied a month previously.


“Now we are a charity we will have better access to grants and other funding,” says committee chairman Bob Duggan. He said the speedy approval of the application was thanks in part to help from Shed trustee Paul Miles, who as chair of the Lindengate charity, has plenty of prior experience with the forms and documentation.


The Shed itself, named The Hog, is up and running on the allotments off Hogtrough Lane. Inside is a growing array of facilities for members (who call themselves shedders) to work on their own projects, or to make fund-raising items such as planters and bird boxes. Plus a kettle and a supply of tea and coffee. It even has WiFi.


Anyone with an interest in making things, mending them, learning how to work with tools, or just wanting to meet up with like-minded people, is welcome as a member. The Hog is open to members, prospective members and visitors for two hours every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with times on the website at www.wendovershed.org.


There are also monthly “open shed” evening meetings and occasional educational demonstrations. Membership is just £15 per year, plus small contributions to pay for consumables (not just tea bags) while using the facilities.


Having a broad range of experience from beginner to veteran means that Shedders can organise and make their own improvements as they go along.


To overcome the lack of mains power they have installed solar panels to charge big batteries that run the power tools, lights and the vital kettle and fridge. A wind generator is also in place and an optimistic group of shedders have set up a hand-turned rig to drill down through the chalk in search of water.


Dave Walls' preview rendering of how the outdoor space will look when it's built.


Shedders have also drawn up plans for a covered but open-sided “outside space” that will double the working area of the current metal shed and also provide extra mountings for the solar panels. Shedder Dave Walls designed the wooden beam structure in AutoCad Fusion360 software and showed it to fellow members as a 1/50th scale model that he produced on his 3D printer. He also produced a rendered photographic preview of the finished structure in place, seen on this page. Shedders will build the real thing themselves this summer as a practical exercise.

Gary Rance finishes turning a wooden apple.


The first of a planned series of skills demonstrations took place on Saturday 10 June, when Gary Rance, a renowned and famous woodturning expert who lives in Wendover, gave a demonstration of using a lathe to make beautiful wooden toys and ornaments.


By mid-June the Shed had 12 active shedders and an additional 15 friends and supporters with an average of three new enquiries every week, which the committee hopes to build on through promotions in social media and by appearances at local events. This includes stands at fairs and markets to show what it’s all about and hopefully attract new members. A fund-raising quiz is being organised for 13 October – keep an eye on the website at www.wendovershed.org.uk for details of where and when.

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