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Community workshop offers space for hobbyists and DIYers

Malcolm Carruthers working on a project at the community workshop in Penrith, which is open to new members

For anyone who’s short of space for doing woodwork, crafts and other hobby projects, a community workshop in Penrith could be the answer. A group of local people have set up the work space at the Eden Arts building on Bridge Lane, and they are welcoming new members.

The facilities include a main workshop room with a selection of tools and a second room that’s kept dust-free for tasks like painting and varnishing, which also doubles as a tea room complete with a fridge, oven, kettle and wash basin. There are also toilet and shower facilities available.

“Not everyone has a tool shed or garage, so the workshop means we can do projects and hobbies that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” said Malcom Carruthers, one of the founder members of the group. “With it being a community space, there are also other people around to lend a hand when you need it and it’s a great way to socialise.”

Malcolm has kitted the workshop out with a wide range of tools for all to share.

“There are two lathes, a band saw, table saw, chop saw and hand-powered saws, a router and table, hand drills, a pillar drill, planers and sanders, along with a selection of small tools like spanners,” Malcolm said. “We share them on the basis that if anyone breaks anything they replace it.”

The group has access to the workshop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but they keep the use of noisy tools to a minimum during the day to avoid disturbing those working in other parts of the building.

“We take responsibility for paying the rent for the workspace collectively, so it varies according to how many members there are at any time,” Malcolm said. “It’s £80 a month and so if we have four members, for example, we pay £5 a week each. This includes our heating, lighting, water, share of tools, toilet facilities and 24/7 access, so it works out very cost effective compared to renting a space on your own.”

Malcolm added: “We’re very grateful to Eden Arts for making it possible for local people to do craft projects – especially those of us who’ve maybe down-sized to smaller homes and no longer have our own work space.”

Some of the group members help out at the monthly Repair Café at the building.

“New members would be very welcome to share their skills once a month to help others in the community to fix things, or even just come along for a chat and some cake, but it’s not essential,” Malcolm said.

Anyone who’d like to find out more can contact Malcolm on 01768 890289 or 07407 271907, or by emailing [email protected].

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