By Connor Sweeney
Rostrevor Men’s Shed was formed in November 2015 and was set up to give local men a place to go to where they could work on a variety of projects, of their own choosing, in their own timescale, and didn’t involve meeting in a pub or sports club. The men’s shed has a life changing impact on our members and we are determined to see our shed continue to grow and thrive.
From humble beginnings, the Shed has grown to a membership of over 50 men, who took over a disused Council premises and transformed it into a garden allotment, workshop and outside seating area, with meeting rooms, stores and a kitchen inside the building.
The Shed forms a vital part of the community with the men regularly getting involved in various projects such as river cleans, marshalling at race events, graffiti removal, beach cleans, tidying and planting and making items for the public and other groups. Breakfast mornings for the elderly are a regular feature.
Activities include gardening, wood work, metal work, informative talks, away days and community work.
Gerry is a typical member. He was approaching retirement and was worried about how to fill his day. The Shed is an ideal place where Gerry can drop in and get on with some work, learn about planting and gardening or just to have a cup of tea and some craic. He often remarks how his circle of friends now includes bankers, solicitors, accountants and such – people who would not have been his natural social circle.
John retired around 20 years ago. He just likes to drop in to the Shed for a cuppa and a chat. He loves telling jokes and the Shedders are a new audience for his old jokes. He has become the head tea maker (but don’t tell his wife)!
Kieran, Martin and Donal are the chief manufacturers and designers, always coming up with new products that the men can make for sale, window boxes, bird boxes, planters, wine racks, model cars – the list is endless.
Rostrevor Men’s Shed is a cross community organisation, and welcomes all men over the age of 18, irrespective of nationality or religion. One of our largest cross community events was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, held in conjunction with the Church of Ireland in the village. The event featured on BBC evening news, with the emphasis being of a community group in a Nationalist village working well with their local Church of Ireland.
Of course, the Shed would not be the same place that it currently is without equipment, much of which was purchased using funds granted by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. The workshop is fully equipped with a range of tools, the great thing being that they are sharp and actually work!
The important thing with any Shed is to have a committed, driving and forward looking committee, and at Rostrevor, we are fortunate to have a dedicated set of members who all share the same vision for the future of the Shed. We are fortunate to have been identified as one of Ireland’s foremost Sheds, receiving recognition at Pride of Place Awards and chosen by the Irish Men’s Shed Association to host a Gathering of Northern Sheds late last year.
Find our more about the men’s shed here.