MEN in Sheds is a community project in which not only men, but women who feel isolated and lonely or are disadvantaged, can go and get creative.
The project lets visitors build all kinds of things, from bikes to birdhouses, and sells them to the community, to carry on funding their project.
Initially it started over 9,000 miles away in Australia, but today the Men in Sheds in Bolton are getting ready for their Christmas dinner.
Run through Bolton at Home, the Bolton Men in Sheds are a proud team who have a strong sense of belonging in the community.
Sam, 60, who helps run Men in Sheds says: “We are more of a social group, we help out in the community, we help out under privileged kids as well, we have people who are mentally and physically challenged and we all work together and we all do our best to help whatever people want doing
“We repair electrical equipment we don’t charge anything for repairs, and we have social events, and we’re looking to build a remote-control car track or the kids.
Anybody is welcome we’re inclusive, we don’t discriminate against anyone. Basically, we’re here to help each other and help the community.”
David, who’s 27, has been coming to Men in Sheds for years. Dougie, 82, said that when David first started coming he would sit on the couch and that was it, since coming to the centre he: “feels more confident, before I came here I wasn’t very confident, I was shy and I’ve come out of my shell a lot and I like meeting new people and making new friends and I just like coming here every Friday.”
He says his proudest achievement since being here is “last year we went to the Macron stadium for an awards night and I won an achievement for becoming more confident.”
Gavin, 36, who also helps run the project says: “The whole idea of the group is to tackle social isolation with men, there’s some reports out that show that there’s a lot of men of working age who can’t work though mental or physical disabilities, or retired men who’ve lost loved ones and suddenly find themselves alone
“So, the whole concept of this group is to come together, we meet every Friday and we get involved in all sorts of activities, from remote control cars, IT equipment, we do woodwork, we do bicycle repairs, we do a whole host of things
“We meet here first, we have a cup of tea, something to eat and have a good old laugh, it’s a very social group, we’ve been here for two years now, we started in 2015, and since then we constitute, we pay our own rent in this building but at the moment we’re in the transition of moving to a bigger site at the UCAN Centre .
“We’ve put in for funding with the National Lottery for £8,000 which will cover the cost of a new cabin, more activities, and to accumulate more income and hopefully it will let us carry on for another three years.
“It’s the best day of my week coming here it’s a day where I can come in and chill with the lads and just have a laugh.”
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