THE first building blocks for the Ringwood Men’s Shed scheme have been put in place and it is in ongoing discussions with a local theatre company about using their base.
Committee members have their eyes on the Endeavour Business Park base of the Forest Forge Theatre Company.
Tim Ward, the man behind the scheme and a former mayor of Ringwood, said: “Finding premises is one of the biggest obstacles facing a shed, but an exciting development has been discussions with Forest Forge Theatre Company, who have a workshop, meeting rooms and studio.
“We are trying to reach an agreement where we use their facilities in exchange for some work on their behalf.
“Several of us enjoyed a tour of the building and all agreed an association could benefit both parties.”
The committee is working through preliminary administration requirements before enrolling members and Mr Ward added: “The response from publicity about the shed has been tremendous – from prospective members, offers of tools and help from other organisations, particularly Men’s Activity Network, plus possible sources of funds – but we cannot follow up on people’s generosity until we are properly set up.
“Unfortunately, with the slow pace at which banks, etcetera, move, this is likely to be mid-March, so we ask for people’s patience, but please keep the offers coming,” Mr Ward said.
Having started in Australia a few years ago, the fast-growing Men’s Shed movement is aimed at older men in particular, as the end of their working life can lead to isolation and the loss of a sense of purpose.
In the UK there are now 534 sheds and a further 141 in development with more than 12,000 men involved.
The intention behind the Ringwood scheme is to set up a shed in the town as a charitable enterprise and feature a workshop where items can be repaired, recycled or sold.