A project helping to tackle social isolation among men is about to get bigger.
Hartlepool Men’s Shed in Osborne Road is inviting the community to join them for the official opening of a new extension next week.
It comes just over two years since the initiative launched where men can unwind through woodwork and other activities.
The extension has been built by the town’s NDC Trust and involved helped young college trainees to gain on the job experience.
Project leaders are particularly inviting women to the opening on Tuesday, September 11, to see if there is interest for them to be part of the project.
Peter Gowland said: “We have got lots of fantastic equipment and there might be some women who want to know basic DIY or how to make a picture frame so we are extending the hand of friendship.
“If there are any ladies who would like to have their own session we are inviting them to come and see what we have got at the extension opening. It would be great to see them.”
The extension will give the project more space for their larger and noisier pieces of machinery.
Funding has come from a variety of sources including charitable trusts and contributions from local ward councillors.
Peter added: “The project has grown and we also have noise and dust generating machines, so the extension means we can move them away from the main shed area.
“We are really pleased with it. The NDC Trust has built it and they have used trainees from Hartlepool College of Further Education as part of their skills development and give them on the job experience.”
There will be a short presentation about the project, which opened in May two years ago, followed by a ribbon-cutting to the extension at around noon on the day.
There are Men’s Sheds all over the country after coming to the UK from Australia where there are over 500.
When the chair of the organisation in the UK spoke at an event in Hartlepool in 2014, the response was very positive leading to Hartlepool’s own branch.
The NDC Trust provided the base, the former Oz Centre, while a number of other organisations have supported it including the former Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency, Big Lottery Fund and Hospital of God.