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New Milton Men's Shed reveals plans for new base at Fawcett's Field sports ground



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A CHARITY combatting loneliness among men has won the backing of local GPs for its plan to build a new base at a New Milton recreation ground.

The town’s Men’s Shed group wants to install a pre-fabricated building in a car park at Fawcett’s Field in Christchurch Road, a location chosen for its central location and good transport links.

The 55-strong organisation, which has 55 members, has had temporary use of a New Milton Town Council workshop at Fernhill Sports Ground.

Members of New Milton Men's Shed built a gazebo for Becton Lane allotments in Barton
Members of New Milton Men's Shed built a gazebo for Becton Lane allotments in Barton

However, it said it has now outgrown the space, which also does not allow for wheelchair working and prevents the group from offering an inclusive facility.

“As a result, it is now seeking permanent premises from which to base future activities and development,” said the application to New Forest District Council.

The Men’s Shed has the backing of organisations including New Milton Residents’ Association, Hampshire County Council’s Men’s Activity Network and the Coastal Medical Partnership GP group.

They all shared the view that the “rapid growth” in membership of the charity was testament to the need for such a facility, and praised the group for improving members’ the health and wellbeing of its members.

Dr Will Howard, of New Milton Health Centre, said patients had been referred to the Men’s Shed as part of its “social prescribing”, adding: “We need this resource to continue and expand.”

The group wants to install a building in a car park at Fawcett’s Field
The group wants to install a building in a car park at Fawcett’s Field

The residents’ association said the charity had played a “pivotal role” in community projects and events, saving organisers “substantial sums of money”.

Formed in 2018, New Milton Men’s Shed brings members together to share skills, knowledge and experience to “enrich each other’s lives and benefit the community by undertaking practical projects and using their shed as a social hub”.

With three trustees and a management committee of 12, it comes under the umbrella of the national Men’s Sheds organisation.

Set up to tackle loneliness, particularly among men following retirement, it can also help get people back into employment unemployed back into work by building skills and confidence.

A decision by NFDC is scheduled by 14th February after the deadline for comments on 21st January.

For more information, go to www.menssheds.org.uk



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