Men's Shed: Fife MSP calls on Scottish Goverment to rethink funding cuts
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Alex Rowley, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, raised the motion in the Scottish Parliament in December.
He asked the Scottish Government to reverse its decision to cut £75,000 in funding to the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA), the body which provides support to Men’s Sheds around Scotland.
Mr Rowley said: “I was concerned to hear from the SMSA that the Scottish Government plan to end their funding in 2023 when, post-pandemic, there has never been a greater need to bring people back together and support initiatives to tackle social isolation.
“I have raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament supporting the SMSA’s call to the Scottish Government to provide stable, long-term funding so that they may continue their important work and create a start-up and development fund that new and existing Sheds can access.”
Kirkcaldy is one of many towns which has a thriving men’s shed which has worked hard to build links in the community and offer a place for people to share their skills and escape social isolation.
Mr Rowley recently visited Dunfermline Men’s Shed where members were on hand to show him the space.
Mr Rowley said: “The SMSA rightly highlights that men can often be a hard-to-reach group at risk of social isolation and loneliness and I think their approach to tackling this should be applauded.
Speaking when the announcement was made, Jason Schroeder, SMSA chief executive officer, said the decision is already impacting the services it can deliver to Men’s Sheds around the country.
He added: “We are now having to divert all of our efforts into exploring alternative funding. We are putting out a call to big business to come to our aid to support the driving force behind this national men’s health movement if the Government does not reverse its decision”.
Dave Stewart, eho chairs Kirkcaldy and District Men’s Shed, called the decision to cut funding “a contradiction”.
He added: “We were was set up to help vulnerable men and women. At a time when mental health is a big issue, they have withdrawn support”.