Gosport Shed to go to Downing Street to ask for help to find a new home

Gosport Shed men at parliament meeting Caroline Dinenage in June last year
Gosport Shed men at parliament meeting Caroline Dinenage in June last year
  • Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage says group is invaluable and provides a lifeline to ex-forces people
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THIRTY members of a Men’s Shed will go to 10 Downing Street to deliver a petition in the hope they can find a new home.

The Gosport Shed has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 2013.

But the group desperately needs a permanent base to continue the good work in the community.

The group will travel to London with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage on Monday to ask that Prime Minister David Cameron helps find them a home.

The shed is a workshop and social centre for men over 55.

Local GPs are now advising men suffering from depression to contact their local Men’s Shed.

In Gosport, the membership has increased to more than 80 people in the past three months – and more than half of the membership are ex-servicemen or former Portsmouth dockyard workers.

The Gosport Shed started at Fort Brockhurst, but English Heritage imposed restrictions which made it unworkable.

The shed moved into a portable cabin at St Vincent College and recently acquired a second cabin.

However, the terms of the five-year lease makes it impossible for the shed to bid for grants or lottery.

In his letter to David Cameron, funding officer Clyde Campouser says: ‘We are desperately short of space and with membership fast approaching 100, we will have to consider imposing a waiting list or turning men away.

‘We have raised and spent approaching £10,000 and invested some 500 man hours on our temporary site but we really need a permanent base.’

Mr Campouser explains that the Ministry of Defence owns 20 per cent of the land and many buildings in Gosport.

‘Somewhere there must be a building or a site suitable for us,’ he adds.

Mr Campouser also invites Mr Cameron to visit Gosport.

Ms Dinenage told The News: ’They are just one example of some of the amazing local groups in Gosport, and also all across the country, that provide an incredible network for people.

‘The reason the sheds are so valuable is they are a great way to combat isolation and loneliness and get people to meet up, make friends, share companionship and learn new skills.

‘They say loneliness costs the NHS more than smoking because of illnesses that come from that, everything from mental health problems to alcohol abuse. In an area where there are so many people who are ex-forces and left behind a profession where there is so much camaraderie an organisation like the Men’s Shed provides an opportunity to fill that gap.’