A GROUP of Ely men are getting ready to launch their new charity after transforming a derelict shed into a community workshop.
For the last year the Dusty Shed group has been converting a disused betting shop into a practical work space. The project will allow people to use the space to learn building and carpentry skills and meet new people.
The charity will officially open its doors on November 17th and plans to hold sessions three times a week.
Dusty Shed was set up by 53-year-old Dave King, after discovering the need to provide retired men like his father with “something to do” to prevent loneliness and depression.
“There wasn’t anything in Cardiff,” Mr King explained. “It’s an under represented group.”
One Dusty Shed volunteer is 66-year-old Philip Jenkins from Ely, who was forced to retire due to ill health. Since the start of the project Mr Jenkins has been taking part in the renovation and will act as a supervisor once the shed is open to the public.
Mr Jenkins explained that with the closure of facilities such as the Ely public bowling green, the shed has provided him with something to work towards.
With plans to install a disability ramp and specially lowered worktops, Mr King wants to make the group accessible to all members of the community. In time he hopes the charity will be used by people including asylum seekers, homeless people and those with dementia.
He explained that the project is to create “acceptance, patience and teamwork” and that a strict “no drink no drug” policy will be in place.
The group first took over the shed, located next to ACE’s Dusty Forge, in February 2015, after spending 18 months looking for a suitable location. However, the project has suffered from multiple delays as asbestos was discovered in the floor.
The renovation was completed thanks to crowdsourcing from local and national businesses. Construction company Willmott Dixon played a vital part in the building by providing material and help as part of its work for local communities.
Contributions were also given by companies including John Lewis, Travis Perkins and Homebase.
Meanwhile, the community of Ely and Caerau has also contributed to the club, with one individual donating tools that belonged to their late father. Volunteers included Ely Fire Services, who gave up their time to help paint the shed.
The charity hopes to become financially sustainable by selling the products it makes. By using recycled material to create items such as garden furniture, the group is committed to creating “more ethical” goods.
Thanks to funding from Cardiff Council and other charities, the Dusty Shed has received enough money to cover costs including insurance and electricity for the next two years.
Once the group is set up, Mr King is keen to expand the Dusty Shed in future to include a terrace and gardens. In addition to teaching carpentry and building skills, one day he also hopes to open a mechanic-based shed, to show “young people how cars work”.