First Men's Shed opens in Bishop's Stortford to help ease social isolation
A "place to go and make stuff together" is now open in Bishop's Stortford with the foundation of the town's first Men's Shed.
The project, aimed at easing social isolation, now operates on Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm, off London Road.
The sessions are the brainchild of retired electrical engineer Trevor Bennett, who has been involved with the 10,000-member Men's Shed movement for around three years, and Simon Marlow, who works for Age UK.
Trevor said: "In around March 2018, we were offered a site to build a shed in the garden of Dave Brown, who is a full-time carer for his mother-in-law.
"We began to work to raise the funds at that time and eventually received £3,000 from local GPs and this funded the building of the shed itself. Further donations, from Rotary and East Herts Council amounting to around £2,200, bought the tools we need to carry out woodworking projects.
"A donation of timber from Green Timber Merchants in Sawbridgeworth gave us materials to work with.
"We offer to make custom items for people at cost and request a donation upon completion. We also are making items for handicapped people to help them a little in their lives.
"The shed is really therapeutic for the members and also provides a charitable service to anyone who needs it."
The mission statement of the shed is: "To promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing people (particularly but not exclusively older men), within the area of Bishop's Stortford and the surrounding area, from becoming socially excluded."
It helps those affected by unemployment, financial hardship, bereavement or old age, and ill health whether physical or mental.
UK Men's Sheds Association, the support body for Men's Sheds across the UK, was founded in 2013 when there were just 30 in the country. Today there are over 400 open with an additional 100 or more in planning at any one time with up to nine added each month.
To find out more about the Stortford Shed or join, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Stortfordmensshed on Facebook.