Charlbury Community Workshop

The Charlbury Community Workshop (CCW) has been set up to provide an affordable facility for repairing, making and training in a variety of practical crafts such as woodworking, needlecraft, electrical/electronic repairs, stained glass, and upholstery. The woodworking will cover both small items like bird boxes and larger personal projects like chairs and other pieces of furniture.

The CCW has been set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, but it is an Association CIO and so it has members (like a club) who elect the trustees.

There is a purpose-built workshop next to the Community Centre. The workshop is 9m by 5m, divided into two separate work spaces, one for fabric/materials, with sewing machines and an overlocker, and the other for woodworking and other crafts, with benches and various power tools (drills and lathes) and hand tools (chisels, saws, files, hammers).

While costs have been kept low by having as much as possible of the construction work done without charge by members of the working group and other volunteers, more funding is needed for fit out. For further details of what is still needed and how to donate, see the CCW website:

So far the CCW has received funding for the insulation of the building from Sustainable Charlbury, a substantial grant from The Glasgow Foundation and also a grant from the Town Council.

The workshop will be opened on prearranged mornings and afternoons, with supervision by coordinators experienced in the safe use of the equipment. All members/volunteers will have to complete a safety induction training for the area that they are going to work in (dusty area or/and clean area) before they can use the facilities.

Funding for ongoing operations comes from a mixture of annual membership fees (£25 a year), session fees (£1 a session), special fund-raising events, and the sale of items made at the workshop (such as bird boxes and hedgehog houses). There will be no staff costs as everyone will volunteer their time. The CCW has arranged its own insurance covering the operation of the workshop and the building and contents.

The workshop was declared open on 20 May 2023 by Suzie Fletcher, the television personality, in front of a large audience. Around 100 people had signed up to the mailing list before it opened and there are already some 50 paid-up members.

The benefits of the CCW will be numerous and varied. As the UK Men’s Sheds Association writes:

For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing. Recently we have seen more evidence come to light that shows loneliness and isolation can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking. Surveys from mental health charities are finding that millions of people report feeling lonely on a daily basis.

Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, less older men have networks of friends and rarely share personal concerns about health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that.

Sheds are about meeting like-minded people and having someone to share your worries with. They are about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge with like-minded people and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives.

(See the UK Men’s Sheds Association’s website:

The CCW will be a place for both men and women to pursue practical interests at leisure, to develop and practise skills and to enjoy making and mending. It will foster company and camaraderie, social connections and friendship building as well as the sharing of skills and knowledge.

For further details, see the CCW website:


Please contact any of the CCW trustees to hear more:

Chris Potts, Chair

Colin Critch

David Court

Grace Cahill

Lucy Overs

Matthew Scott

Simon Walker

Tony Merry

William Robinson, Secretary

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