in early 2019 we received a call from Ben Jones Vice Principal of Caldicote Primary
purpose of the call was to offer Frade’s Men’s Shed a chance to showcase their skills.
would see our Men’s Shed and Caldicote’s Primary School together embarking on a
journey that would benefit many of the community’s children for years to come.
were extremely excited when they learned of the project and just couldn’t wait
to get stuck in.
they could see the potential of the Bus and from this point, they worked side
by side with the school’s faculty to agree a plan of action.
needed to learn more about bus conversions and what the School’s intentions
were, so it was a crash course for ourselves in leaning about conversions for usable
Bus conversion took eight months to complete. The finished product looks
Shedders have made substantial growth within themselves, made some new friends
and created an amazing working space for the children of Middlesbrough.
Frade, along with Ageing Better Middlesbrough set up the Men’s Shed to help isolated individuals get out and about, socialise with like-minded people and learn new skills.
Due to the on going success of the Men's Shed we now continue to be supported by Boro Man Can and receive funding through the National Lottery Community Fund, the National Lottery players and the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
only did this project help towards managing social isolation, it took them one
step further on their skills training and got them active in their local community.
The feedback from the community has been very supportive and encouraging for
was the bus donated to the school?
bus was donated to the school following links with Stagecoach North East. Mrs
Dean leads the 2-Year-Old Provision 'Remarkable Rebels' has good links through
her husband, who is a driver with Stagecoach and suggested taking the bus to
Caldicotes Primary School.
school agreed to take the bus to add additional capacity to the school site, whilst
also adding a new element to the schools learning environment.
early stages it was unclear how the school were going to convert the bus. They focused
on utilising the space to encourage reading, and as comfortable space to share,
enjoy a book in this new library space.
were the original needs/intentions for the bus?
focus we had for the bus was primarily around reading but also with a view to
ensuring we had a flexible working space, most likely upstairs where a teacher
would be able to bring a full class and utilise the space as a classroom
important to us at this stage that we had a space that could be used throughout
the school day, including at lunch and break time.
wanted to ensure that the children had as much voice within the process as
possible, they were clear that they wanted downstairs to be flexible and allow
them to read and share a book but also have a space to socialise and enjoy each
plans for the upstairs evolved we felt that we wanted to make the space
available as a wider extension of the current Forest School provision within
the academy but in broader sense which is when we decided to make the space
have a focus as a science lab.
the space is equally available to seat a full class, it has allowed us to build
capacity around our science curriculum and has meant we have a renewed focused
upon the fundamentals of science teaching.
did you approach the Men’s Shed (how did you hear about them)?
discussions with the team at Men Shed and their focus upon upcycling and
community projects it was immediately clear that the Shedders could work
together upon a shared challenge.
a successful submission for a community grant from Middlesbrough Council, work
began in earnest and what followed was an extremely productive working
relationship between the academy and the Men Shed.
Jones (Vice-Principal) said:
when the coach arrived to the completion of the project I have been stunned at
the effort, commitment and sheer graft that the team from the Men Shed put in
to the completion of the 'Caldi-Coach' in every conversation they were always
eager to get it right.
based on their commitment to making sure the children at Caldicotes had space
they could share and enjoy for years to come.
was by no means an easy task, the bus was old, tired and not necessarily the
most welcoming space initially, but based on the initial plan they were able to
transform that plan and vision into a reality.
the things that struck me was that no challenge was too small, so that as the
project developed and we made small design changes they met the task with
gusto, the end result being a space that children can utilise for years to
has struck both staff, parents and children has been the high level of finish
at completion, the bus is a real testament to the professionalism of the team
in Men Shed.
would welcome working with Frade and the Men Shed at any time in the future and
hope they know what a difference they have made to Caldicotes through their
hard work, commitment and engagement with the message behind the
Frade’s recently appointed CEO Michael Bertram who took the challenge of boosting our efforts to alleviate poverty with the Tees-Valley gave his comments on the project.
has been an amazing project. The skills shown by our Shedders coupled with
their enthusiasm has made us all at Frade very proud of their achievements. We
look forward to working on more projects like this in the future. The Men Shed I
now an integral part of the fibre of the school and without them this project
would have not been completed”.
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