Bembridge Men in Sheds

Men in Sheds – Bembridge

Bembridge Men in Sheds takes a major step forward with the arrival of our first building, sited in Steyne Park.

The Bembridge project follows a number of similar initiatives on the Island, some of which have been supported by Age UK Isle of Wight.  Sheds are successfully operating in Newport, Ryde, Cowes, Ventnor, Totland, Sandown, Shanklin and Brading.

The Men in Sheds movement began 20 years ago in Australia to encourage social inclusion among men, many of whom found themselves isolated from local activities. The concept has since spread worldwide with over 450 in the UK alone. Activities are primarily social and based upon what local groups want – ranging from woodworking to model making and restoration; from music to simply a chat and cups of tea. 

Why Bembridge?

Bembridge, and St Helens have one of the highest percentages of people over 65 both on the Island and in the UK. Many may therefore find themselves isolated through remoteness from family members, sickness or the loss of a partner – and in need of some company.

Since February 2018 when we held our first exploratory meeting, and without any promotional activities, we have grown into a group of over 20 subscription-paying members with the potential of increasing our numbers when facilities are fully up and running.

The group gained Parish Council backing for the project with a 10 year lease in a section of Steyne Park, where we have planning permission to site two portable buildings, the first of which arrived on Saturday 12 January. We also have backing from Age UK Isle of Wight, who have been instrumental in setting up many of the sheds on the island.

We’re now in the process of applying for Lottery funding to further the project, adding a storage shed, power generator and key tools.

In the meantime we have been active around the area, helping people dispose of unwanted tools, planting bulbs in Lane End Road, making bird-boxes for the Literary Festival, re-modelling scenery for the Bembridge Little Theatre Club and laying a path (to a shed!) behind the Village Hall. 


This year we have penciled in building beehives and village planter replacements, alongside getting our new building ready.

If you are interested in joining us, want to find out more or have an idea of where we might be useful then e-mail Ian Graham on ianmg.iow@gmail.com or come along to the Scout Hut in Mitten Road on a Tuesday at 2pm where we have enjoyed weekly meeting since March 2018.

Bembridge men scoop grant awards

Within a year of its formation, a new Bembridge-based charitable organisation has been awarded nearly £9,000 in grants towards its formation and the establishment of long-term accommodation in Steyne Park, Bembridge.

Bembridge Men in Sheds was set up last year with the help and encouragement of AgeUK to improve the lives of older men who wish to stay active in the community and to help those who, through circumstances such as the death or separation of a partner, have lost touch with their communities and relationships. 

Chairman of Bembridge Men in Sheds, Ian Graham, said he was delighted to learn the grant applications to both the National Lottery and local community charity WightAid had been successful. “The money will go a long way towards establishing a permanent base, thanks to a 10-year lease kindly granted by Bembridge Parish Council at Steyne Park.”

“The Council also supported our successful planning application to site two portable buildings at Steyne Park, the first of which arrived in January and the second, thanks to our Lottery funding, should be delivered from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway in April.”

“We can now move forward by paying legal set up fees, installing main services and equipping and decorating the two portable buildings. We will also be able to provide disabled access as well as buying essential safety equipment and key tools.”

The Bembridge Shed is the latest in a growing network of similar Sheds across the island and is part of an international movement set up to support men who benefit from meeting others in similar situations by talking, building relationships, sharing skills or simply chatting over a cup of tea.

With demographics showing Bembridge to have the highest proportion of over-60s on the island, the location of the local shed could not be better.

Bembridge Shed has a growing membership of around 25 paying subscribers and since its formation, and courtesy of Bembridge Scouts, has been meeting in the Mitten Road Scout Hut. The lack of permanent accommodation hasn’t stifled enthusiasm to engage in local community projects.

Said Vice-Chairman John Sparrow: “We have found homes for unwanted tools, planted roadside bulbs, made bird boxes for the Literary Festival, remodelled scenery for the Little Theatre Club, laid a path behind the Village Hall, and smartened up the area around the new art installation known as The Wave.”

Ian Graham praised members and their commitment. “It’s clear our community work has been our strength. I’m so glad this was recognised in both our successful community bids. We will make every penny count.”

The group welcomes new members. Please contact Ian Graham via email: ianmg.iow@gmail.com

Reports

To view the Men in Sheds Annual Report, please follow the link below.

Bembridge Men in Sheds Annual Report