Members of an initiative which combats isolation have pooled their expertise to create artwork which will put the area on the map for the Tour de Yorkshire.
The Men’s Sheds project is designed to promote fellowship and inclusion by providing a space where people can come together and work on projects, share skills and enjoy each other’s company.
The Whitby Area Sheds work from outbuildings and halls in Littlebeck, Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay and Staithes. The project runs two “She Sheds” for female members, whilst also welcoming women to the Men’s Sheds workshops and vice versa.
With the Tour de Yorkshire fast approaching, members of the Sheds projects have already picked up the baton and are working on artwork to place along the race route. This is the sixth year of the race, which this year runs from April 30 to May 3.
Stage one of the Men’s Race will follow the Yorkshire Coast after setting off from Beverley, passing through Filey, Whitby, Fylingthorpe and Staithes before finishing in Redcar; the most northerly point the race has reached.
Ian Wallis, a member of the BayThorpe Shed at Robin Hood’s Bay, has already drawn up designs to create a giant roadside sculpture of a cyclist on a penny-farthing, complete with rotating parts, which he is working on with his fellow “Shedders”.
An avid Tour de France fan, Ian, who follows every up and down of the international race intensely over each summer, makes sure he gets involved in the Tour de Yorkshire as an enthusiastic supporter.
“Creating this artwork for the Tour de Yorkshire has become a short-term obsession for me,” he said.
“During the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, when the helicopter filming something flies overhead you might get 20 seconds maximum, so we wanted to make something instant and impactful.”
Whitby Area Sheds also plan to work with the wider community and schools on other Tour de Yorkshire-inspired artwork.
Graham Storer, an ambassador for the UK Shed network, said they were open to suggestions from the community for other pieces of artwork they could create for the Tour de Yorkshire, or donations of materials.
“We had a very positive response from the Sheds when we put the idea of a Tour de Yorkshire project to them. The BayThorpe Shed has made an absolutely incredible model and are planning on creating a very exuberant cyclist on a penny-farthing. It will be a moving model - an automaton – and I think it’s going to be very joyful.
“This is a fun project and we very much want to work with the community on it.
“At our Shed in Staithes we want to do something along similar lines but we’re looking for some ideas at the moment. So we would welcome any suggestions from people in and around Staithes of things they would like to see. We could work with a local school on it as well. It’s a great opportunity for the community as well. It’s about the Tour de Yorkshire and community and coming together.”
Whitby Area Sheds has received encouraging support from North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team, which supports communities to help themselves and take greater control of their own wellbeing.
Visiting the Men’s Sheds project in Staithes, North Yorkshire County Council Chairman, Cllr Jim Clark, said: “I think this is a super project and that’s why I’m here – to give it some support. I think it’s important that communities throughout North Yorkshire are able to get together and showcase the county. When it’s shown on TV people can see what a great place this is and what great communities we have here.”
Anyone with any suggestions for Tour de Yorkshire artwork which the Men’s Sheds project could work on, can contact Graham Storer on firstname.lastname@example.org