Guest post from Mike O’Donoghue of the Irish LoCo
I have great respect for the Men’s Shed initiative and I follow our local Men’s Shed on all the usual social media outlets. A few days ago I was at home and I happened on a tweet from @athymensshed indicating that one of the members would be at the shed that morning working on computers. Keen to find out more I headed over for a chat. I met Tim at the door and he welcomed me in for a tour. I was shown the well laid out woodwork area and right beside this I saw the bike repair workshop where they refurbish old bikes for reuse. This is a source of income for the shed which helps to keep it afloat. They stored old bikes in an adjoining room and in yet another room some members were using their skills to restore a fabulous old horse drawn cart (sorry, probably not the best name for it).
Upstairs in a smaller room Tim showed me the computer workshop. He told me that they refurbish discarded hardware for reuse. We chatted about linux and Ubuntu and it was clear to me that this man was an uber geek familiar with all things Open Source. He uses linux for the refurbishments.
The tour ended with a trip to the kitchen where we chatted some more before I left. Having explained the Ubuntu release structure I gave Tim a bundle of 12.04 CDs in the hope they would come in useful. He was happy to receive them. He felt the LTS release would be best suited to what he was doing. Ubuntu or its derivatives are perfect for this kind of work.
What a great place! Refurbishing old equipment for reuse and fostering a community spirit. At the shed everyone is both a teacher and a student who teach and learn new skills to and from each other. My respect is confirmed. A great initiative in these recessionary times.
I got a real sense that the shed was similar to Hacker/Makerspaces in many ways. I wonder, where a Men’s Shed exists shouldn’t the nearby Ubuntu LoCo establish contact with geeky members to see if help and support can be provided?