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Men’s Shed goes from strength to strength as members get to work at new home

PUBLISHED: 16:30 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 07 March 2018

Members of the Beccles Men's Shed group with county councillor for Beccles Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Members of the Beccles Men's Shed group with county councillor for Beccles Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2018

A group set up to offer a place for retired men to meet, socialise and learn new skills, is going from strength to strength with a permanent home now up and running.

Beccles Men's Shed group member Paul Palgrave sanding down a chair. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. Beccles Men's Shed group member Paul Palgrave sanding down a chair. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Beccles Men’s Shed group is operating from three empty stables behind a member’s home on the Henstead/Hulver border, building planters, bird tables and upcycling furniture.

And with 16 members now attending the twice weekly sessions and the workshops kitted out with donated tools and materials, group founder Tony Rainbird said he is delighted with their progress.

“We’ve been here for about three months now and it is absolutely fantastic what we have achieved,” he said.

“We are here for people of retirement age, people that may feel socially isolated or those with mild or medium depression, and the group has really blossomed.

Beccles Men's Shed group member Paul Nicholls working on a bird table. 
Picture: Nick Butcher. Beccles Men's Shed group member Paul Nicholls working on a bird table. Picture: Nick Butcher.

“The idea is to give men a place to meet, give them a purpose with projects to work on and a place to learn new skills and chat to others if they want to.

“We’ve been given the workshops and electricity for nothing which we are extremely grateful for.”

The shed was also boosted by a £500 donation from Suffolk county councillor for Beccles, Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, which came from her locality fund and paid for the group’s insurance.

Paul Palgrave, 62 from Beccles, joined the Men’s Shed group back in November after taking early retirement due to suffering with osteoarthritis and depression.

Prior to joining the group, Mr Palgrave said he just sat alone at home.

“I love the comradeship and the fact we are all making something, sharing skills and learning together,” he said.

“When I first came I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but the group has really grown and I’ve made some really good friends.

“I think groups like this will definitely save the health service money because it stops you sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself. It gets you out, we have a laugh and you feel a great sense of achievement when you finish working on something.”

The men meet every Monday and Wednesday from 10am to 2pm.

Anyone interested in joining can contact Mr Rainbird by calling 01502 711601 or emailing beccles.shed@gmail.com

The group also welcomes any donations of tools, nails, wood and screws.

How the group helps

Paul Nicholls, 67, of Oulton Broad, joined the group after his wife passed away in May last year.

He originally attended bereavement classes in Beccles, before a friend suggested he join the shedders.

He said: “If I hadn’t come here I think I would have gone bonkers living on my own, so it has been a massive help for me.

“It gives you a purpose in life and something to focus on, and I have got to know all the other men too.

“Before all this happened I was a full-time carer for my wife, but after she passed I was no longer a carer or a husband so it gave me something to keep my mind going.”

Mr Nicholls used to run his own upholstery businesses, and attends both sessions of the group each week.

He added: “It’s helping me to keep moving forward from a bad situation.”

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