Horndean Ladies’ Shed the first in the UK

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ANYTHING the men can do, we can do just as well.

That’s the message from a group of women who have started their own ladies’ shed.

From left, Sandra Lynes, Carol Smith, Michelle Tee, Charlotte Forrest, and Imogen Hull, who have started their own ladies' shed group. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150313D-3742)

From left, Sandra Lynes, Carol Smith, Michelle Tee, Charlotte Forrest, and Imogen Hull, who have started their own ladies' shed group. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150313D-3742)

Believed to be the first in the UK, Horndean Ladies’ Shed sees women of all ages roll up their sleeves and get stuck in to everything from DIY to building furniture, outdoor work, car maintenance and craft activities.

The group follows in the footsteps of the men’s shed movement, which sees men meet every week to do activities.

The craze started in Australia and worldwide men’s shed leaders met in Havant last autumn for a conference.

Carol Smith, 52, said women wanted to start their own shed after making enquiries and being told that the men’s shed was for men only.

Since starting at Merchistoun Hall at the end of last year, there are now 15 women from the ages of 20 to 63 who meet up every week.

So far they have helped refurbish the bar area at the community hall and clear a tennis court so it can be used for a car park.

The team is currently building window seats, with some doing the DIY and others opting to do the upholstery.

Mrs Smith, of Barton Cross, Horndean, who works at Horndean Infant School, said: ‘A lot of the women want to learn basic DIY and bits and pieces and some of the ladies still want to do craft activities.

‘It’s a real mix. We enjoy the social aspect.

‘We are exchanging information and learning from each other. Why not we say?’

She added: ‘I think we are the only national ladies’ shed.

‘I have looked online and not seen any other actual ladies’ sheds.’

Brendan Charles, manager of Horndean Community Association, which runs Merchistoun Hall, said: ‘It’s a fantastic idea. We have a team of fiercely independent women who prove they can do it just as well.’

The group meets on Monday evenings and Friday afternoons and is open to anyone in the Portsmouth area. Call (023) 9259 7114 for details.