It’s the small things that make a house a home. At our Sandford Station retirement village in North Somerset, Retirement Community Manager Sam Pycroft explains how the addition of a new garden shed has brought the community together and spurred on some unexpected creative projects.
“I’ve worked for the Trust for 7 years now. I started as a Care and Support Worker, moved up to Senior Care and Support Worker within a year and then last year went for the role of Retirement Community Manager. I love it because no day is ever the same – I go in on a morning with a plan of my day and often by the end it’s not gone that way at all. But I wouldn’t change it! There’s great interaction with residents, their families, other professionals and colleagues.
It’s developed a dual purpose – giving people a place to work on their projects and also bringing people together in a social space
A resident came to me very early on in my role to talk about the need for a workshop space. I grew up in a family where my father was a carpenter and joiner by trade – he has always had a shed or a garage that has been his workshop and I don’t know how he would feel if he had to give that up. This gave me a bit of an insight into how some of the residents would feel when downsizing from a larger home – without an outlet and place to go, to potter and chat with friends. I started by looked into how community sheds work across the UK and then gathered information from our residents about who would like to use one here. Off the back of speaking to residents, we found that though not everyone would use it for their own projects they might bring things to be fixed by others. So it’s developed a dual purpose – giving people a place to work on their projects and also bringing people together in a social space. Projects in the woodshed now range from putting a hole in a belt and fixing a lawnmower to stripping back tables and more.
Here at Sandford Station we have lots of different facilities. Our allotments get a lot of use by our residents, we have a bowls pavilion and we have a full programme of activities set up by our Community Engagement Coordinator – art classes, Zumba and Keep Fit. There is also a swimming pool, beauty salon, hairdressers and a gym. But this process has been a good reminder to stay open minded and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
There are times when people have lost things to move into a retirement village and there are compromises that come with downsizing. Often retirement villages focus on activities that women are likely to want to take part in but forget the gentlemen, many of which are very hands on and come from practical kinds of work. The shed has also become about giving people time for themselves when moving from full-time work into retirement, which can be a tricky transition.
One gentleman who has great use of the woodshed has even re-varnished all of the tables in our atrium!"
To find out more about our Sandford Station retirement village, including its facilities, regular activities and properties currently available, visit the main village page.