Community workshop to help mental health and the environment opens in Bishop's Castle

People in South Shropshire will be able to bring their broken items that have been cluttering up their homes to a new community workshop for repair - instead of throwing them away.

Enterprise South West Shropshire, based in Enterprise House in the heart of Bishop’s Castle, has set up a community workshop for the town, to be run by volunteers.

Walter’s Workshop, named after the E Walters trouser factory, which used to run from the building, opened to members on November 12 with a ceremony and will fully open to the public in January.

The aim is to provide a space for members to work on their projects, help someone else with a task, provide a local repair service or assist with a community project as well as to be there for friendship and companionship.

It comes as the UK’s right to repair law came into force earlier this year.

Manufacturers of many goods, including washing machines, TVs and fridges, are now mandated to do more to help customers repair them for longer.

Workshop chairman Alan Cheeseman, who is a jewellery manufacturer based at Enterprise House, said the aim was to provide a meeting point.
He said: “I want to help lonely people and also provide a service to the community. 

“It’s set up as a community repair shop but the mental health aspect is important and blokes, in particular, talk better shoulder to shoulder rather than face-to-face.”

Mr Cheeseman said people can bring anything that’s broken along to the workshop - but he can’t promise everything will be fixed.

He said: “If we can discover how to mend something, then we will give it our best shot or, if not, we will forward it to local tradesmen in the town.”

Volunteer Pat Buchanan, workshop treasurer, said the constitution for the workshop was signed at the opening ceremony.

She has done much of the paper work behind setting up the workshop and said she very much enjoys repairing and recycling.

“My particular interest at the moment is sewing and I’m very keen that we offer space for people to repair curtains, alter jeans etc so that items are kept in use,” she said.

“The workshop will bring a welcome social for people to come and have a coffee and a chat and bring things to be mended and altered. It will be wonderful if they are interested in learning new skills or developing talents and it should be a really welcoming place for everyone.”
Enterprise House Manager Rob McKay said he was delighted to open up more space for the community.

He said:  “We are so happy to see the space being used.  People are making friends and getting things going and there is a big momentum to support the community project.”

Mr McKay said the aim was also to help people with their mental health after the isolation of covid by getting together.

He said: “The most important thing for us is to provide another space in the building for people to get out of their houses and do something positive together.
“We are also thrilled to encourage people to recycle old items, instead of throwing them away.”

Mr McKay said Walter’s Workshop will be a place that is open to all.
He said: “It will be a place to meet others, undertake a hobby, or learn a new one and pass on skills and knowledge or just provide space for members to come along and have a chat and a cup of tea, make friends, and enjoy each other's company.”