Search for shed launched as mental health need soars

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the tow

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the town. With Ray are some of the items the group has made. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Making friends and taking up a hobby can do wonders for mental health, but a group set up with those things in mind has sadly found itself homeless.

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the tow

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the town. With Ray are some of the items the group has made. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The search is on for a new premises for the North Walsham Men’s Shed, after the group had to leave their former base at the back of the White Swan pub in Church Street in March.

Ray Winder, the group’s chairman, said the Men’s Shed could help a lot of people struggling with loneliness and isolation because of the pandemic, but doing so was impossible while the group did not have a building to operate from.

Mr Winder, 57, said: “It’s something that’s needed more than ever. Even if you’ve got no DIY skills whatsoever you can come along, have a cup of tea or coffee and build new friendships.

“Within a few days or weeks people often end up getting involved in some project and picking up new skills as well.”

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the tow

Ray Winder, chairman of the North Walsham Men's Sheds, which are appealing for a new home in the town. With Ray are some of the items the group has made. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020


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The North Walsham shed started about two years ago and there are 24 such groups across Norfolk, with another eight in development.

Mr Winder said they were able to pay rent for a suitable venue, and his eventual goal was for somewhere with two areas - one for hands-on jobs such as woodworking - done with the shed’s stock of donated tools - and another space where people could learn new computer skills.

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Men’s Sheds started in Australia in the 1990s - with part of the idea being that men of retirement age found it more difficult than women to make new friends.

The North Walsham group welcomes women as well as men.

Projects members have completed included making an advent candle holder for the town’s parish church, painting a beach hut in Cromer, upcycling chairs and kitchen furniture and making an oak table which is being used in a church in Bacton.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker is helping with the search, and said a new base for the group could make a huge difference for mental health in the town.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see the energy and passion that they’ve got.”

Anyone who can help can contact the group by email at nwmensshed@gmail.com, or visit www.northwalshamcommunityshop.org.uk/local-groups/north-walsham-mens-shed for more information.

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