Gosport Shed celebrates becoming biggest group of its kind in Britain

Members of the Gosport Men's Shed 
Picture: Habibur Rahman (161523-16)
Members of the Gosport Men's Shed Picture: Habibur Rahman (161523-16)

College in running for top national awards

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IT’S NOT uncommon for people to lose their sense of worth when they retire from the working world.

That’s where the Gosport Shed comes in, and we’re not talking about a building full of rusty tools in the back garden.

Gosport Shed, which is based at St Vincent College, provides hands-on social opportunities for men over the age of 55 who have become stuck in a post-retirement malaise.

Now with around 120 members and counting, the Shed is celebrating being the biggest group of its kind in the UK.

Chairman of the Gosport Shed, Harry Ansell, said: ‘It’s wonderful to be able to say that we’ve broken our century. It must be one of the biggest in Europe, and we’re still growing.’

The concept of the Men’s Shed was born in Australia, and has become a surefire way for older people to tackle boredom and depression with more than 900 international groups.

Founded in 2014, Gosport Shed is just one of dozens of shed projects in the UK.

‘Gosport Shed brings people together that have become isolated after they retire,’ added Harry.

‘They’ve done all the jobs that they can in the house so they’re left to sit there twiddling their thumbs. The Shed builds their confidence back up again.’

Harry, 64, can relate to the appeal of the Shed having once been in a similar position himself. After being made redundant from his job in admin, he decided to retire.

‘By the time I’d reached my 60th birthday I’d done all the jobs at home and thought ‘what I do now?’, Harry says.

‘Like any other person would, I saw the advert for the Shed and never looked back.’

As well as their workshops which run five days a week on the St Vincent campus on Mill Lane, the Gosport Shed has arranged excursions as far as Berlin for its members.

The members have also been able to refurbish a Mark 8 torpedo for the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, and hope to refurbish Holy Trinity Church’s door.

Harry said: ‘There’s a lot of retired servicemen living in Gosport.

‘There’s plenty for the ladies to do with the WI, but there was never really an equivalent for the men before this. I guess the Shed is almost like a men’s WI!

‘I can’t believe the number of people who have come to me and said that the Shed has saved them.

‘Being a part of it really gives you purpose again.’

For more information on Gosport Shed, email gosportshed@gmail.com or call 07852 425664