West Sussex County Times
Praise for community project in Shipley
A charitable organisation in Shipley won praise from a visitor as members began to regroup following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Dr Tim Fooks was impressed with the work of the Horsham & Shipley Community Project (HSCP) when he was welcomed on Tuesday, April 13, ahead of completing his term as High Sheriff of West Sussex.
He observed many of the activities available including gardening projects, outdoor furniture making and the Shipley Men’s Shed.
Dr Tim Fooks said: “It was a great pleasure to be able to visit the HSCP recently.
“After such a prolonged lockdown period, the members’ delight in being able to meet again was almost palpable, as was the camaraderie both on the sports fields and around the workshop.
“I felt immediately welcome and included by the whole group, and I can readily understand why everyone I met spoke so highly about its importance and the benefit it brings to the overall quality of their lives – people simply feel better for being there.
“As with all the Men’s Sheds I have visited, therefore, HSCP is a place where you can make new friends, learn new skills and be supported to stay well in both mind and body and I would like to thank and congratulate them wholeheartedly for developing such a fabulous asset for the local community.”
HSPC was formally incorporated as a charity in June 2018 and is largely lead by the interests of its members, for whom there are no rules about age or ability.
The activities mainly take place at the Shipley Football ground where HSCP have a license to operate under TD Shipley FC, which is the main tenant of the facility and who use the main football pitch for their matches at the weekends.
As well as the Men’s Shed, the organisation also runs walking football for both men and women – which now has two options including ‘darting football’ for those who want to play a slightly faster pace; pétanque (like French boules) of which there are four pistes – pitches – accommodating a maximum of eight when not social distancing; health walks ranging from three to six miles – some of which are due to restart mid-May on Wednesday afternoons; and a new cycling club is currently in planning where members can join guided routes with their electric or leg-powered bikes.
There is also a ‘green team’ who run The Green Project on Mondays where they cut the grass, mark the pitches, look after the flower beds, help with pitch drainage solutions and do the general maintenance of the ground.
Although the The Men’s Shed is not yet fully open post-lockdown – as work is going on to expand the outdoor workbench areas to accommodate more members outside and under cover – some members are already coming along for a cuppa and chat in groups of up to six.
Helen Gibbs, one of five trustees at HSCP, said most activities happen on a Tuesday, when there is a ‘real buzz’ at the site. She said: “Although members typically have one primary activity they like to take part in, some choose to get involved in a number of the others.
“There is also plenty of opportunity for the groups to talk to each other – during the social times at the end of the sessions around the refreshment gazebo, and also at the social barbecues which happen one evening a month during the summer months.
“It is an extremely friendly place to be and where people can do as much or as little as they like.
“They simply share a desire to take part in some outdoor activities in the company of others, in an inclusive, supportive and goodhumoured way.
“Anyone is welcome to visit to see if they would like to join in. Annual membership cost is very low and merely covers costs.”
Visit www. HorshamShipleyCommunityProject.org or email info@Horsh amShipleyCommunityProject.org for more information.