Losing Scottish Government support would have a serious impact on the Broadford and Strath Men’s Shed on Skye.
Aimed at easing loneliness and teaching skills to others, the men’s shed movement across Scotland was dealt a hammer-blow last month when it emerged that, from March, their national association is to lose all its £75,000 funding for this coming financial year. From five sheds to over 200 in less than 10 years, these local facilities have become invaluable empowerment and social inclusion tools within smaller communities and within the older male section of society.
Hugh Davies, chairman of the Broadford and Strath Men’s Shed, which is hosted by the local community company, told the Free Press: “This will affect plans that we have because if the national association loses its funding we will lose a great resource. The association is a vast library to draw on such as for advice, agreements they have signed with suppliers to give us discounts on tools, and insurance deals and power deals and all that sort of stuff.
“If the Broadford men’s shed had to close, it would be a big blow to the membership”, he added.
“We do a great deal of work, we don’t just make benches, which probably everybody knows about,” he said. “We have worked with Kyleakin Connections teaching skills to the service users there, helping them build things, and a project with an Irish film company on the loss of culture and housing in the Highlands.
“The whole premise of the men’s shed is to help combat the lack of companionship in older men, skills sharing, addressing mental health issues – we are not mental health experts but loneliness has a horrendous impact on people’s mental health.
“Anyone can come to the men’s shed, and if they do they can be shown how to make things and if all you want to do is sit down and have a blether you can do that too.”
Mr Davies encouraged people to sign the national petition, at 38degrees.org.uk, organised to help prevent the cut.
For more information on the Broadford and Strath Men’s Shed contact email@example.com or 07572 655433.