Market Drayton's Men’s Shed

Alan Cartwright writes: For the last eight years or thereabouts the town’s Men’s Shed has been somewhere its members have been able to go to in order to work on community projects or follow private pursuits. Alongside those it has also been a place where they have been free to socialise, adding to the much evident banter, and join in a wide range of (possibly) less physically challenging activities from watercolour painting and stamp collecting to digital photography. In fact the Men’s Shed has been such a boon it is hard to believe it owes its existence to events that took place on the other side of the world not all that long ago.

The concept of the Men’s Shed originated in Australia, however, where researchers in Broken Hill, New South Wales and Adelaide, South Australia in the 1980’s laid the seeds of a movement aimed at improving the health and well being of older men. Since then it has spread to other parts of Australia (with the Australian Government actually funding some community projects), the UK, the Republic of Ireland, USA, Canada, Finland, New Zealand and Greece. The rules as regards membership have also widened over the years with women now being equally welcome as members.

Although men’s sheds started to appear in the UK about ten years ago the idea took a little longer to reach Market Drayton, with a member of the town’s former Rotary Club first raising the question about having one in North Shropshire after witnessing its benefits of one in Scotland. Following that initial suggestion a grant from the Rotary Club helped to set Market Drayton Men’s Shed on its way and most of the rest is history, as they say.

The Shed – which was created out of two containers and a wagon body – has moved on a long ways since those early days and now appears to be equipped for every imaginable purpose. Surplus tools are never a problem, however, as they are regularly passed onto charities for redistribution to developing countries.

Having mentioned community projects a little earlier it is worth noting that the members of Market Drayton’s Men’s Shed have undertaken work for the Alzheimer’s Society, the Am Dram and Artsfest, Market Drayton Football Club and Rugby Club along with the Town Council amongst others. The work undertaken has taken on various forms including the provision of a Memory Tree, a range of notice boards, art boards and the treatment of a host of numerous health and safety issues. And please note the decking at the Dorothy Clive Garden and the restoration work to the train-set shaped book shelves at the Library the next time you visit them.

The Shed is located on the Greenfields Sports Ground next to the Tigers’ Football Club, TF9 3SL, and is currently open from 11am to 2pm on Wednesdays and Fridays or at other times by arrangement. Please call in if you are interested.
Sadly, having been exempted from his school’s woodwork exam and seen the only table he ever constructed given a condemned sticker, you won’t find the author undertaking any practical work there but there is a very strong likelihood he will be dropping in for some convivial company and definitely some of that banter.

Market Drayton's Men’s Shed


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