MEMBERS of a project working to tackle social isolation among older men have paid a visit to parliament.
The Gosport Shed, based at Fort Brockhurst, Gosport group went to the House of Commons and met the town’s MP Caroline Dinenage.
Bill Willetts, 65, of Blenheim Gardens, Hardway, Gosport, said the group enjoyed the trip.
He said: ‘We had a really good day. It was a very good, everybody was pleased.
‘Caroline met us in Westminster in the hall.’
It comes as just more than a year has passed since the group held an open meeting to set it up.
Bill, a retired HGV driver, joined in October after spotting an advert in Morrisons supermarket.
‘They’ve made me very welcome and I’ve been going every day.
‘I’ve made new friends and my wife has also made friends with someone else’s wife.’
Tony Queree, 76, was on the steering committee and was among those wearing the Gosport Shed branded tops visiting Westminster.
He said the group has grown and now has 50 members.
He said: ‘A lot of them are ex-services and ex-trade but it doesn’t matter if you’re not.
‘A cup of tea and a joke are still forthcoming.’
The group toured Westminster Hall, the House of Commons and the House of Lords before meeting Caroline.
She said: ‘I was so delighted to welcome the gentlemen from Gosport Men’s Shed to Parliament.
‘I feel a particular fondness for this group as I was at their very first inaugural meeting.
‘The Men’s Shed gives older men a chance to get together for comradeship, to learn skills and take part in community projects.
With the effects of loneliness estimated to cost the NHS more than smoking, I was unsurprised when one member told me that this group had literally turned his life around.’
The group is based at Fort Brockhurst but may be moving to the St Vincent College campus in Mill Lane.
As reported, the group tackles social isolation and depression.