Fife men’s shed launches fundraiser after green light to build a bigger workshop
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The group is one of 200 branches in Scotland. It provides space for men to participate in activities such as wood working, metal working, and gardening - but most importantly, it aims to reduce loneliness and isolation.
The local shed is currently based on Wallace Street near St Andrews Botanic Gardens and has a membership of approximately 50. It has outgrown its current facilities and came up with a plan to build a bigger and better hub at Craigtoun Country Park.
The group plans to put an old farm building on the estate compound and turn it into a workshop for its activities. The new workshop will be much larger than the current one and it will allow it to develop a large workshop, coffee bar, computer room, kitchen, and a disabled toilet.
The group has also been given access to a plot of land adjacent to the new facility at Craigtoun Park by the Old Course Hotel. This land will be used to develop an allotment and an orchard area.
North East Fife planning councillors unanimously approved the proposals at a meeting last week in the face of dozens of public comments. In total, the council received 17 objection comments, 28 supporting comments and two general comments about the workshop.
Some objectors were concerned about the workshop’s impact on road safety - especially during the construction phase. However, the council’s transportation team did not object to the plans, and officers called it a transient issue.
The approval is a big win for the local group, but Henry Paul, chair of St Andrews Men’s Shed, said it must now raise enough money to make the dream a reality.
Although the workshop’s interior fit-out will be carried out by members, the construction of the building will require the services of a professional contractor with the right experience and equipment.
“We will need funds to erect the building,” he said. “We will also need to connect to mains services, water, electricity, and sewage. Our ambition is to raise money to erect the new building and to connect to mains services."
He continued: “We are applying for grants to help with the costs of the move and the erection of the new building, and we are hopeful that they will be successful, however community contributions will help to demonstrate just how important the Shed is to the local community.”
To raise money for their upcoming move, the group has launched a JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/campaign/sams
“We would gratefully appreciate any donations of money or building materials,” Mr Paul said.