Hartlepool project boosting women’s mental health and woodwork skills needs help to survive

A new group that boosts women’s confidence and practical skills is in need of more volunteers.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 5:00 am
Jennifer Turner working on a carving at the Men's Shed Osborne Road. Picture by Frank Reid.

The Hartlepool Women’s Shed launched in October as an extension to the popular Men’s Shed project.

Once a week, around 20 women gather to make all sorts of useful items and form new friendships.

Jennifer Turner working on a carving at the Men's Shed Osborne Road. Picture by Frank Reid.

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It’s initial trial is about to come to an end at the end of the month.

Despite having a healthy membership, the future of the group is less certain.

They are looking for more volunteers to help oversee their work and help them handle the various tools and equipment.

Sharon Hopper, of the group, said: “We are doing really well. We have 25 women on the membership list and get about 15 to 18 come every week.

Sharon Hopper in the Men's Shed Osborne Road.

“There is lots of different things going on.

“We have got ladies from all walks of life. One is a widow and her husband had a shed full of tools and she doesn’t know how to use them.

“Her husband had always done everything and she comes because she wants to help herself.

“But to be able to continue we need new volunteers to come in and be able to work with the ladies and is confident around all of the tools.”

Sharon said someone like a former woodwork teacher would be ideal.

Hartlepool Women’s Shed started after the Men’s Shed underwent a £27,000 extension last year and women interested in using the facilities in Osborne Road came forward.

They meet every Monday between 10am and 3pm.

Members have put their new learned skills to good use by making things such as picture frames, tea trays, medicine boxes and decorative wood carvings.

Ann Davison, 50, told how joining the group has also boosted her mental health.

She said: “I suffer from depression and I used to spend a lot of my time at home.

“I have met new friends and it gives me more confidence.

“I also learn how to use tools to do different things rather than rely on my husband.”

Ann Laing, 42, of Raby Road, Hartlepool agreed, adding: “I joined to get out of the house and meet new people.

“I never used to go out.”

Anyone who may be able to help the group should call Sharon on 07488 567801 or Bernie Newbury on 07599 722886.