MEMBERS of Gosport Shed visited 10 Downing Street to deliver a petition addressed to the prime minister asking for his help to find them a permanent base.
Fifty members travelled to Whitehall, but because of security only five members were allowed into Downing Street.
There was a lighthearted moment as they lined up outside No 10 and knocked on the door – Larry the Downing Street cat, who had been taking a stroll, saw his chance and sauntered through the guard of honour into No 10.
The Gosport Shed, a registered charity, was founded in 2013 to provide a meeting place for men who no longer work and miss the companionship and camaraderie of the workplace.
Membership has just reached 100 and is diverse, There are doctors to drivers, priests to plumbers, stokers to salesmen all with skills to teach and learn.
Like all brilliant ideas, it is simple. Take men who would otherwise be pottering aimlessly at home, watching daytime TV or sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms and combine their skills to help the community.
Current projects include renovating a play area for The Badger pre-school group at Bridgemary, restoring Georgian street lights in Gosport and making picture frames for a series of specially-commissioned paintings to be displayed on board HMS Warrior.
As well as doing work in the community, shed members have a very active social life.
Day trips are organised and recent outings include a tour of the Houses of Parliament, visiting The Imperial War Museum in Duxford and London, going to the Dorset Steam Fair and enjoying a guided tour of HMS Defender.
Members also visited the workshops of the newly-renovated Boathouse No4 in The Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth and the battlefields of Northern France.
Future trips are planned to HMS Excellent, the firefighting service at Whale Island, the annual Army v Navy rugby match at Twickenham, plus sailing in the Solent and walking in the Brecon Beacons.
The Gosport Shed is open five days a week Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
It is based at St Vincent Community College with a large, fully-equipped workshop and newly-extended clubhouse.
For more information, please call 07852 452664, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, log on to thegosportshed.btck.co.uk or follow on Facebook.