Ditchingham Men’s Shed group unveils plans to build workshop behind village base

Members of the Ditchingham Men's Shed group are looking to build a workshop at the back of the village hall.
 Picture: Nick Butcher.

Members of the Ditchingham Men's Shed group are looking to build a workshop at the back of the village hall. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2017

Members of a group which provides a place for men to meet and socialise are submitting a planning application to build their own workshop.

The Ditchingham Men’s Shed formed last summer and now has around 18 members who gather each week at Broome Village Hall to enjoy a bacon sandwich and a catch-up with friends.

But despite holding regular meetings at the hall, the group has been searching for a permanent place to establish a workshop in order to allow members to get to work on a variety of projects and put all the tools they have been donated to good use.

And, with the search for an existing space to use proving unsuccessful, members have now been given the go ahead by the parish council to apply for planning permission to build a workshop on the back of the village hall.

Fred Hartwell, chairman of Ditchingham Men’s Shed, said: “We had a few offers of places but there was nothing that would be suitable.

“Then one day I looked out the back of the hall and thought there’s all that green space that doesn’t get used. So we asked the parish council if we could build on the back and they were in favour of it.

“We are very conscious about being part of the community and this way we are creating an asset for the village and leaving a legacy.”

A set of plans for the workshop have been drawn up and members estimate the project will cost between £35,000 and £40,000.

Mr Hartwell said: “At the moment we are in between a rock and a hard place because we can’t start applying for big grants until we have planning permission in place so we need to get that first.”

The group already has £4,000 in the fundraising pot, raised through donations, the Ditchingham Village Fete, and Bungay town reeve Mary Sprake’s Land of Hope and Glory concert.

“We’ve had so much moral support as well as financial support it’s been brilliant,” added Mr Hartwell.

The group will submit a planning application in the next few weeks, with hopes they could have approval by the start of the year for fundraising to begin.

They meet every Friday from 10am to noon and anyone who would like to join can call Mr Hartwell on 01986 895414 or secretary John Lange on 01986 469199.

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