SOUTHBOURNE Men’s Shed is set to double its floor space.
The recently-formed club learned today that planning permission has been granted for a new building and now detailed plans to expand will be drawn up.
Chairman Geoff Collett said the announcement was ‘fantastic news’.
“The present shed is now getting a bit cramped as our membership grows, so we need more space in our meeting room cum workshop,” he said.
“We realise that as the words spread, more men are joining us and the result is that we have quickly become a little overcrowded some mornings.”
The club, which is open to all men who have ceased full-time work or are approaching retirement, is a member of the UK Men’s Sheds Association.
It is one of hundreds of ‘sheds’ where men meet, make new friends, chat, share hobbies and interests, undertake small tasks for themselves or the community, or just sit and enjoy a relaxing cuppa.
The aim is to provide a safe meeting place for men who want to keep actively involved in projects, share hobbies and skills, or to socialise when they are no longer working.
Southbourne Men’s Shed currently occupies the changing rooms at The Old School, in New Road, and shares the building with the Age Concern charity shop.
Planning permission has been granted for a new, temporary, wooden shed next to the changing rooms. The charity will move its jumble sale stock into the new shed and the vacated room will then be used as a workshop and storeroom for the shed.
Work on the new shed, which is funded by Age Concern Southbourne, will begin immediately, with most of the construction being done ‘in house’ by the shedders.
Douglas Meany said: “This is a project the members have been looking forward to and they are planning to use their enlarged clubroom by late autumn.
“The extra room will make the shed more comfortable for the shedders who wish to sit and chat, and more user friendly for those who wish to work on hobbies, or small individual projects in the new room.”
The shed is usually open Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 12.30pm, and following today’s announcement, will now open for a trial period on Monday and Friday mornings, too.
Financial support has been provided from West Sussex County Council’s Community Initiative Fund and Prevention and Well-being Grants programme to improve its well-equipped workshop.
Douglas added: “With free tea or coffee and cookies constantly on stream, the shedders enjoy the chance to get away from the pressures of home life for a while and mix with like-minded men of the same age.
“There is no competition, no challenges, no ceremony and very few rules in this new social club.”
Call Douglas on 07973 837640 or visit www.menssheds.org.uk for more information.
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