Charity which stops men being isolated makes plea for new home

Men with Sopwith Camel model

Members of Norwich Men's Shed with a model Sopwith Camel they made. - Credit: Roberta Wood

A charity which helps men combat isolation and loneliness by giving them the chance to come together in a workshop is appealing for help to find a new home.

Norwich Men’s Shed started as a small self-funding club, but has grown into a popular and well-known charity, based in its workshop at Pitt Street.

Members of the Norwich Men's Shed

Members of the Norwich Men's Shed, who are looking for a new home. - Credit: Roberta Wood

It gives men, who may have issues around loneliness, social isolation and mental health, a place where they can use the workshop to use or learn skills and create projects.

At the same time, they can talk to other men, helping with their wellbeing and sense of purpose.

Up to recently the charity, which shares the premises with MensCraft and has just two part-time paid staff, had paid a peppercorn rent on its short-term lease.

But their landlords at Anglia Square have introduced a charge and, with the lease running out in March next year, the charity needs to find a new home within a year.

Roberta Wood, Norwich Men's Shed co-ordinator, said: "We were really fortunate to get the peppercorn rent for the time that we did, but we have got a year to find somewhere.

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"We'd be really keen to find somewhere which could also offer us a peppercorn rent.

"We've got all the workshop equipment which we would move over and it would be ideal if our new home is accessible by public transport, but has some car parking on site or nearby."

The current workshop covers about 250 square metres and members hope to find something of at least similar size.

The charity has got funding from Norwich Consolidated Charities and Norfolk Community Foundation for 2021, but gets very little external grant money to run.

It is having to use up the bulk of its reserves to cover the £4,500 shortfall for the year ahead.

Members pay a nominal membership fee and volunteer to help run their Men's Shed.

Covid-19 has changed the way the Men's Shed, which normally has about 70 active members, can operate and it has been mostly closed since the pandemic hit.

Safety measures have been put in place and it is due to reopen to members in May. It will then assess whether it can accept new members.

Anyone who can help find a new home should email or call 07421 088033.