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The Redcliffs Shed: a community asset

At the Redcliffs Shed, Nev Dell has access to a range of tools. PHOTOS: Ryan Thomas.

The Redcliffs Community Shed provides a second home for community members. Ryan Thomas talks to chairman Nev Dell about what the shed offers himself and his community.

Men are known to have smaller circles of friends than women. For one retired businessman, the Redcliffs Community shed allows him to expand his circle.

Nev Dell has been chairman of the Shed since mid-2013 and says it is an asset to the community.

The Shed brings community members together in one space to share their skills and their jokes, to have a cuppa and to work on practical tasks, individually or as a group.

Dell says he comes to the shed to socialise with the others and also “for the coffee”.

“When you retire, it’s hard to keep yourself occupied and the Shed allows me to do just that,” he says.

The Shed also allows Dell to use equipment such as the ear-splitting timber thicknesser to work on his projects.

A community space


After the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2011, Reg Dally got together with a few others and founded the Shed. They decided to use the building as a base for a community space.

Dell says the landlord was extremely generous and issued the property rent-free for some time. With the help of some materials from local suppliers, and “the guys putting in all the donkey work”, the Shed was created.

The ladies then decided they wanted to be involved in the Shed too. After some discussions and a deal allowing the men’s home-brew operation to continue, the ladies were granted access to the Shed.

These days the Shed has more than 60 members but, as Dell laughs, “a few of them aren’t paid up”. Membership costs just $25 for a year.

The Shed employs a coordinator, Steve Marsh. He looks after the general running of the venture. Everything else is driven by volunteers.

Nev Dell, chairman of the community shed since 2013.

The projects the Shed tackles are entirely up to the members concerned. Projects include: toy making, seed sowing, painting and making a bottle-top bike light during the school holidays.

Members are gearing up to make children’s toys which Marsh says they plan to sell to the community. The money will be put back into the Shed. Most of the materials used are donated or are left unwanted in skips.

The Shed is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10am to 2pm.
It  offers opportunities for new friendships outside normal social circles. Retired builders teach retired engineers some skills and visa-versa. Retired accountants are taught skills they never had the opportunities to learn in their working life. Husbands even teach women skills which may have always mystified them.