Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer has backed a new project to improve the health and wellbeing of men living in the Tynedale area.
The Hexham East councillor, alongside representatives from the Tynedale Lions, Karbon Homes, and the Hexham Community Partnership opened the area’s first Men’s Shed at the No.28 Community House in Hexham, as a community space for men to get together and create.
The project is the brainchild of the Tynedale Lions group, who have fundraised and project managed the Men’s Shed from start to finish. Over the past 18 months the group has fundraised over £4,000, alongside securing grant funding from the Northumberland County Council Community Chest scheme and the National Lottery's Awards for All grant fund.
Cllr Homer, who also made a donation of £2,000 from her County Council members allowance towards the cost of the Shed, said: “The idea of bringing a Men’s Shed to the area was one that I was really keen to back and was delighted to be able to support the project from when it first got underway 18 months ago.
“It’s been a really interesting year and a half and since visiting last August to turn the first piece of soil in preparation for the Shed being put it, it’s brilliant to be back now to see the finished product and pronounce it officially open.
“Tynedale Men’s Shed is a fine example of a project that will bring great outcomes for the residents in this area, meeting a need that so far we have not been able to tap in to. There are many projects for women in the area and it’s fantastic that we’re now able to offer something specifically for men.
“The support we have had from residents has been great and I’m looking forward to seeing men come forward and start using the Men’s Shed.”
Now that the Shed has been officially opened, the Tynedale Lions are looking for potential ‘Shedders’ to come forward and get involved.
Tynedale Lions member and Shed Manager, John Rooke, said: “I can’t believe after 18 months of hard work, the Shed is finally up and running. It’s brilliant to see and has been a really special project for all of the Lions.
“We are incredible grateful to Karbon Homes and the Hexham Community Partnership who have made this project possible. Karbon Homes has generously provided not just the site for the Shed at No.28, but all the electrics and an accessible toilet, whilst the Hexham Community Partnership which manages the site has been invaluable in helping with the logistics of getting the Shed up and running.
“I would also like to say a huge thank you to Cllr Homer and Northumberland County Council who have made generous donations towards the funding of the Shed. It shows a really strong union between the Lions and the community of Hexham, a union that we hope will bring more and more fantastic projects to the area in the future.”
For the coming 12 months, the Tynedale Lions will manage the running of the Shed. The group’s long term vision for the Shed is that it will become a sustainable community project that runs in parallel with the other activities happening at No.28.
Paul Moralee, Karbon Homes’ Community Investment Manager said: “From our first meeting, we were keen to support Tynedale Lions with their Men’s Shed. The enthusiasm and hard work they put in is a credit to all those involved. We are looking forward to seeing the success of this innovative approach to reducing social isolation and loneliness and the positive effects it will have on the wellbeing of local people.
“The Men’s Shed will also complement the excellent work Hexham Community Partnership does from No.28 and we look forward to supporting the work that both organisations do in the local area.”