Hastings and St Leonards Men’s Shed is working towards own charity status

Members at The Shed
Members at The Shed

A new community group, set up to meet the needs of older men, is hoping to become a fully-fledged charity.

Hastings and St Leonards Men’s Shed was set up early last year and has seen its membership steadily grow.

The group is designed for men over 50 to come together and socialise, as well as offering to do various projects for good causes.

Michael James, chairman of Hastings and St Leonards Men’s Shed, said: “The idea of setting up communal ‘sheds’ was pioneered in Australia, in response to the needs of, mainly, older men.

“It had been found that older men suffered poor health because they were isolated, excluded, or lonely, had no one with who to talk, share or work.

“Over a period, many Men’s Sheds were set up and it was soon discovered that being able to get together with their mates helped improve not just their physical, but their mental and emotional health too. Soon they began springing up all over the country.

“The concept was brought to the UK, where using the same name, a number of organisations began to try them out. Age UK started pilot schemes in several places, and having proved their worth, encouraged others to do the same. Now there are around 300 Men’s Sheds the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland, and the numbers are increasing all the time. Many are affiliated with the UK Men’s Shed Association. Woodwork has been a mainstay of many groups, as has metalwork and in some, working with glass, pottery, etc.

“Hastings & St Leonards Men’s Shed is a meeting room and workshop for all older folks living in the area who like to remain active and socialise with others without commitment. It has a well-equipped workshop where people can make things in wood or metal, follow a hobby or interest, share skills, or just sit, relax, chat, and enjoy a cuppa or two in good company.

“We make things for ourselves, for the shed and engage in projects for the community. These community projects are normally free of charge, except that a small charge might be made where we need to buy special materials.

“We are currently making an application to the Charity Commission to become a registered charity which should be of help in applying for grants and other funding.”

Anyone interested in joining can just turn up to The Shed at 20 Manhattan Gardens, in Ore on Tuesday or Friday at 10am.

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