Hartlepool Men’s Shed project expands horizons with £20,000 extension

Mike Burton with one of the many guitars he designed and made at the Hartlepool Men's Shed. Picture by Frank Reid
Mike Burton with one of the many guitars he designed and made at the Hartlepool Men's Shed. Picture by Frank Reid

A project that helps to tackle social isolation among men in Hartlepool is expanding its horizons following the opening of a new £20,000 extension.

Hartlepool Men’s Shed in Osborne Road has grown to a membership of around 100 in just two and a half years.

Ken Widdington working on a new carving. Picture by Frank Reid.

Ken Widdington working on a new carving. Picture by Frank Reid.

Now it has opened a new extension at a special ceremony and is set to welcome women into the fold.

Men’s Sheds provide a place to pursue practical interests, such as woodwork, at their leisure, learn new skills and forge friendships.

Hartlepool’s members cut the ribbon on their new extension this week after raising £27,000.

Around £20,000 went to the building of the extension by the NDC Trust using local bricklaying apprentices.

The Men's Shed's youngest and oldest users, 17-year-old Michael Bullivant and Stan Butterfield aged 90 in the new extension.

The Men's Shed's youngest and oldest users, 17-year-old Michael Bullivant and Stan Butterfield aged 90 in the new extension.

The rest of the money raised will go to its running costs.

Peter Gowland, a trustee of the project, said: “It is a great building but shortly after we first moved in we realised it was a bit small.

“Also having all the noise and dust generating equipment in one room was not conducive to people who just want to carve something quietly, so we raised some funds and built an extension.”

The opening was attended by local councillors, apprentices who worked on it and the wider community.

A number of women who are interested in being part of the project also attended.

Peter added: “We were delighted with the turnout. There was lots of support for the shed, and particularly pleased that 11 ladies who are interested in using the shed signed up.

“It was a really positive day. We look forward to having better facilities which we have now because we have more space for our equipment.

“We would like to express our thanks to ward councillors and the various trusts and foundations and other funders, and also the NDC trust which built the extension with the help of bricklaying trainees from Hartlepool College of Further Education.”

The Men’s Shed is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 3pm.