THE Friends of Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope are one of four groups in Thurrock to benefit from grants issued by the Big Lottery Fund.
Over £50m was given out in grants to 1,903 community projects across the country last week, with the Friends of Hardie Park given £4,000 towards the Hardie Park Men’s Shed project.
The project will develop a ‘men’s shed’, where local men can participate in practical activities such as woodworking, crafts and gardening. The group hope this will provide opportunities for men to come together, learn skills, build friendships and reduce social isolation.
One of the Friends leading this project is Rob Groves, who said: “We are delighted with this funding and it has certainly gone a long way to getting the men’s shed up and running.
“Suicides among men is scarily higher than it is around women and other groups. That’s down to loneliness and social isolation. Men’s sheds are there to tackle that particular societal ill in men. It creates a space for people to build friendships by working on something.
“Women make relationships face to face. Men make them shoulder to shoulder, so with this project we hope to target those men who suffer with a lack of friends.”
The project has cost around £10,000 to set up, with £6,000 having been raised by the Friends.
They have already bought a container and lined the inside, and now only need to put in benches and tools. The shed should start holding sessions later this summer.
Before then, the Friends are searching for volunteer supervisors, who will run sessions and be fully trained in using the tools.
There are over 300 men’s sheds in the country, and the Friends eventually hope to hold two shed sessions every day, requiring 14 shifts to be covered per week.
To be viable they want around 50 members, with between 12-15 taking part in each session. Sessions will be priced at £2 to cover costs.
If you are interested in being trained up as a volunteer supervisor contact the Friends of Hardie Park at [email protected]
Other Thurrock projects to receive lottery funding were the Association of Africans in UK, which received £8,510 towards a forum, blog and African study classes, The Anthonia Oyindamola Folakemi Afelumo Coshare Foundation, which received £9,995 towards raising awareness aboutThrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpar, and Templesprings, which received £10,000 towards two summer camps for disadvantaged children.