It’s home or bust as Ban­don Men’s Shed meet with politi­cians

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

A West Cork Men’s Shed is hold­ing a series of meet­ings with lo­cal Oireach­tas mem­bers and county coun­cil­lors in a bid to garner stronger sup­port for its ap­peal for a per­ma­nent base.

It’s a case of ‘per­ma­nent home or bust’, said Tom McCleary, co­or­di­na­tor of Ban­don Men’s Shed which has about 25 core mem­bers and a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of ‘float­ing’ at­ten­dees.

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

How­ever, it’s now feared that mem­bers of the shed, based in St Michael’s Cen­tre in the town’s main street, will be left with­out a meet­ing place in the com­ing months due to plans to con­vert the lo­ca­tion into state-of-the-art ac­com­mo­da­tion and com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity for the el­derly.

“We are hold­ing the meet­ings in or­der to raise aware­ness of a mas­sive chal­lenge fac­ing Ban­don Men’s Shed,” Mr McCleary said.

“The Shed is quite an im­por­tant or­gan­i­sa­tion in the town.”

He said the mem­bers were cur­rently in the process of chang­ing over the sum­mer win­dow boxes and bas­kets to win­ter bloom­ing plants.

“Peo­ple have been shocked to hear that we are faced with a move and I have said we will not be mov­ing to tem­po­rary premises — we ei­ther get a proper home or we close,” he said.

Mr McCleary has pre­vi­ously ap­pealed 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 per­ma­nent premise.

Cap­i­tal fund­ing is avail­able to build a suit­able premise if the or­gan­i­sa­tion had a suit­able site, Mr McCleary said.

Although the Ban­don Men’s Shed should hope­fully not have to move for up to 12 months, Mr McCleary said it was cru­cial the prob­lem be high­lighted now to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, to in­ter­ested politi­cians and to the coun­cil.

He added if a per­ma­nent base was not found mean­time, it would have no op­tion but to close.

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