Grant will help tools club achieve its goal

A £7,800 lottery grant will help propel Scarborough Mates towards their goal of securing their own premises.

The group meets in a church hall but has to shift its tools and other equipment in and out of a storage room before and after each session.

“It takes about 15 minutes and it eats into the time”, explains treasurer Charles Airlie, adding that the hall is shared with pilates, zumba and ceramics groups.

In an ideal world, the club would have a permanent home for its exclusive use, to further develop its facilities and training programme.

This year, the club hopes to become a charitable incorporated organisation with foundation status. It recently obtained funding for a storage unit from the county council and for equipment from the Asda Foundation, which has strong links with the international Men in Sheds movement, which started in Australia.

At some point, the club may wish to change its name, as Mates stands for Men and tools enjoy sheds. This is misleading as the club is open to and would welcome women members; it has one already. Although there are no age limits, most members are retired, with time to kill and DIY ideas to turn into reality. The subscription, £13 a month, pays for the rent, heating, insurance, hot drinks, biscuits, etc. What’s left is spent on the tools members use to make things, usually in wood or metal. 

To save money, members make the club’s workbenches. The club wants a special table for use by wheelchair users such as disabled member Chris Cammish.

“We have retired electricians, builders, engineers and social workers”, says Charles. Some have skills and hobbies to share, some don’t, he adds. “It’s a mix of people who can and can’t. We discuss ideas and some come just for the social side, a bit of chat”, Charles says.

One of the club’s chief aims is to combat isolation and promote mental health, providing social, physical and mental benefits.

Non-members take items such as furniture to the group to be repaired or renovated, in return for a donation. Members make all sorts, from garden furniture to wooden and ceramic toys.

Charles is pictured with Des Macauley and workshop manager Malcolm Maloney, operating a lathe to make a candle holder out of a piece of mahogany. The club has just bought a new, state-of-the-art lathe.

Brian José can be seen using a bandsaw to recreate gifts he noticed on a Caribbean holiday.

John Adams was an engineer at Atlas Ward steel fabricators, as it was then called, in Sherburn. He later spent 12 years as a maintenance man at the Mecca bingo hall in Scarborough.

The club meets in the undercroft of St James’s Church, at the junction of Valley Road and Seamer Road, from 9.30am to 12.30pm Mondays and 10am to 2pm Thursdays. The heated room gets even warmer when sun floods through the south-facing window.

* To join, ring Charles on 350899 or email