Companies join forces to bring charity’s new home to life

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, including Sewell Group, they have leased the pavilion at Oak Road Playing Fields, off Beverley Road, Hull, with a view to being fully operational in April.

Sewell Group helped Men in Sheds with the design, gaining planning permission and building control approval, structural alterations, roof repairs and electrical advice, 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 a pleasure to be involved with an organisation that’s providing facilities for men looking to join a like-minded group for mutual support, which is a big gap in our society.

“We are also donating some IT equipment, white goods and furniture to help them get started and we’re really pleased to be involved.”

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.

It is hoped the group will be the first of many Men in Sheds across Hull and the East Riding.

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.”