Penge MP Ellie says 'Sheds' project must be saved
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 August 2019
Penge MP Ellie Reeves has visited a ground-breaking project combating social isolation and loneliness that is desperate to raise cash as lottery funding has dried up.
The Labour member is supporting the Penge Men and Women in Sheds project run by Age UK Bromley.
The innovative scheme offers a space to anyone over 50 so they can share and learn new skills including wood-working, recycling and DIY.
Nationally acclaimed since its launch by DIY expert Tommy Walsh in 2010 and in a National Lottery television debut with DJ Chris Evans in 2013, Men in Sheds has grown from strength to strength with sheds in Eltham and Penge with 656 men on its books and the launch of a pilot women in sheds program.
Mark Ellison, CEO of Age UK Bromley, said: "Our aim is to provide activities to help older men who are known by researchers to be at great risk of social isolation and loneliness. These can put them at severe risk of illness and mental health issues.
"Men have told us time and again that Men in Sheds has been a life-line and made a huge difference to their health and well-being, especially at key times like post-retirement or following bereavement."
Men also have one stop access to Age UK Bromley's other services, including health-signposting, information and welfare advice.
Ellie said: "This project is an invaluable community resource.
"The project is a home from home for many and contributes just as much to the wider community as it does to its users.
"It is a unique and remarkably effective way of bringing a wide range of people together and combating loneliness.
"I am extremely proud of the project as are I am sure all who have come across it and I hope it will continue to run for many years to come."
The long-term future of the project looks to be uncertain as its National Lottery funding comes to an end and new funding urgently needed to be found.
In a bid to fill the cash hole, the project has launched a fundraising campaign: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?pageId=1063513