Companies across Hull and the East Riding have teamed up to help bring a new men’s charity base to life.
Men in Sheds is a new registered charity set up in Hull to help men combat loneliness and isolation.
An initiative first started in Australia, it encourages men to get involved in different projects and activities, such as woodwork, photography and IT, sharing skills and hobbies with each other.
Members have been meeting at a base in Greenwood Avenue, north Hull, while searching for new, larger premises to expand and offer support to more men.
Now, thanks to coordination from the Hull and East Yorkshire (HEY) Smile Foundation and the goodwill of various companies, they have leased the pavilion at Oak Road Playing Fields, off Beverley Road, Hull, with a view to being fully operational in April.
The Sewell Group helped Men in Sheds with the design and gaining planning permission, as well as advising on health and safety and offering project management.
Meanwhile, EYG are heavily supporting the project by providing and fitting the new windows at cost, MKM is providing the majority of the building materials free of charge and Sargent Electrical is providing all electrical items to get the building up and running.
Men in Sheds member and trustee John Nicholson said: “The amount the businesses are giving us is great. It means we have more money to put towards equipment, rather than having to spend it on the refurbishment, which is a great help.
“The work is moving on quite rapidly and we are really excited for the doors to open, as we will be able to help and support more members. We are so grateful for all of help we are receiving.
“The new base is ideal for us because it’s easy to access, we have our own car park and it’s on a bus route, so it’s handy for the local community.”
Men in Sheds will remain at their Greenwood Avenue base when the pavilion site officially opens, providing areas for meeting, drop-ins and activities.
As the group continues to grow, it is hoped trips away, cooking for one and healthy eating sessions will also be planned for members.
Steve Gibson, construction managing director at Sewell Group, said: “It’s nice to be involved with an organisation that’s helping to combat loneliness among men.
“We are also donating some IT equipment, a fridge, some work benches and chairs to help them get started and we’re really pleased to be involved.”
EYG are supplying and fitting 25 windows for £2,500 – the full cost would have been around £5,000.
EYG’s Managing Director Nick Ward said: “We are supplying and fitting 25 windows, subsidising the cost by a half. We are a long-time supporter of the Smile Foundation and have raised in excess of £40,000 in the years that we have partnered with them.
“When they came to us for help with Men in Sheds we were impressed by the project, and how it helps a section of the community that doesn’t get a lot of help. We recognised that it’s a very worthwhile charity that seeks to bring lonely and vulnerable people together and give them a sense of purpose and create new friendships.
“We hope that the donation from EYG will greatly help in quickly establishing this group and allows them to expand their services and reach more people.”
To date, 45 men have shown interest in the Men in Sheds group, with numbers set to increase as they settle into their new home.
Ian Pratt, branch manager at MKM in Anlaby, said: “We’ve been supporting the Smile Foundation for a while now and, when we were approached to support the Men in Sheds project, it was an ideal one for us to get behind following the success of the golf day, which we’re also heavily involved in.
“We’re supporting the cost of building materials to help get the refurbishment off the ground and we’re delighted to be involved.
“The work Men in Sheds are doing is a much needed service and something which I’m sure will be well used and supported by the community.”
It is hoped the group will be the first of many Men in Sheds across Hull and the East Riding.
Ian Sargent, managing director of Sargent Electrical Ltd in Beverley, said: “As part of our charitable giving we support lots of local charities through the Smile Foundation and we’ve been helping with Men in Sheds since they first starting working with Smile.
“We’re delighted to continue our support to see the project move to the next level.
“Our staff can’t wait to get down to the site and start helping out. Men in Sheds is invaluable to the local area and we’re looking forward to seeing more sheds pop up in the months to come.”
The Smile Foundation is a collaborative charity which works hard to support smaller charities and community projects.
It has supported Men in Sheds since it began in January 2015, also constructing a website for the group and putting plans in place to help with printing in the future.
Charity manager Andy Barber said: “With every project or group we support, we try to make sure a legacy is left and, thanks to the local business community, that’s certainly happening for Men in Sheds.
“The help and support offered by our corporate partners is overwhelming and fantastic to see.
“Without hesitation, they’ve given their time, skills, expertise and materials to make this happen and it’s going to be a fantastic place to call home for Men in Sheds. We can’t wait to see it when it opens its doors in April.”
For further information, to get involved or to donate and help us to support others please contact us by:
The best time to come see us Tuesdays & Thursdays between 9am - 4pm at The Pavilion, Oak Road Playing Fields, Beverley Road, Hull.
You can call us anytime,
if we’re not available, we’ll
respond to all messages.
T: 01482 803 700
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You can donate to Men In Sheds at our
Virgin Money Giving Page