Ban­don Men’s Shed ap­peal for per­ma­nent place to bloom

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

A West Cork Men’s Shed has is­sued an ur­gent ap­peal to Cork County Coun­cil and the lo­cal com­mu­nity to help it find a new premises, warn­ing that it ex­pects to be­come home­less within a year.

The suc­cess­ful Ban­don Men’s Shed is re­spon­si­ble for a va­ri­ety of lo­cal ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar an­nual Ban­don in Bloom project un­der which colour­ful hang­ing bas­kets and win­dow boxes for a va­ri­ety of lo­cal town­cen­tre busi­nesses are pro­duced and main­tained by Men’s Shed mem­bers.

How­ever, it’s now feared that the Shed, which is based in St Michael’s Cen­tre in the town, will be made home­less in a mat­ter of months be­cause early-stage plan­ning is un­der­way for a new build­ing project which will see the premises con­verted into ac­com­mo­da­tion and a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity for the el­derly.

The group is ap­peal­ing to Cork County Coun­cil to pro­vide a site for a per­ma­nent home for the group thus en­abling them to po­ten­tially ac­cess fund­ing to con­struct a premises.

Ex­plain­ing that cap­i­tal fund­ing was avail­able to build a premises if the or­gan­i­sa­tion se­cures a suit­able site, Ban­don Men’s Shed co­or­di­na­tor, Tom McCleary said he was urg­ing Cork County Coun­cil and the govern­ment it­self to start giv­ing sup­port to the Men’s Shed move­ment.

“These groups can be dif­fi­cult to set up and main­tain and if they close down it is next to im­pos­si­ble to get them go­ing again,” said Mr McCleary.

“We’re also is­su­ing an SOS to the com­mu­nity, in the hope that some­body out there might be able to sug­gest a new premises for us.”

Mr McCleary, who has been with the Shed for six years, said he be­lieves the Ban­don group will not sur­vive mov­ing from one place to an­other.

“Lack of per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion re­ally takes the wind out of your sails - peo­ple sim­ply lose in­ter­est,” he said.

“Yet Men’s Sheds are a very im­por­tant con­cept in terms of men’s men­tal and phys­i­cal health. In some coun­ties, the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have sup­ported their lo­cal Men’s Sheds with per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion. Some are rent-free, or can avail of free elec­tric­ity or in­sur­ance,” he said adding that help from Cork County Coun­cil would be very grate­fully re­ceived.

“Cork city re­cently hosted the big­gest ever gath­er­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Men’s Sheds from all over the world some­thing which shows the level of in­ter­est in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“How­ever, Men’s Sheds have to have sup­port, and the govern­ment and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties need to pro­vide men’s Sheds with some kind of se­cu­rity, be­cause once they shut it’s too late.”

Ban­don Men’s Shed co-or­di­na­tor Tom McCleary.

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