Gosport Shed's future secure despite college plans to utilise its ground

A POPULAR group that keeps men active during their retirement has been reassured that its base is secure.

Thursday, 12th January 2017, 6:00 am

Gosport Shed is a beloved leisure group in the town, with over 130 members and is expanding all of the time.

But it is based on the land of St Vincent College, in Mill Lane, there were fears that the shed may have to find another home.

The college is the sixth largest college campus in the country and is looking sell off land both to meet local needs and raise as much funding as possible.

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Now Gosport Shed has had confirmation of its long-term future by principal Matt Atkinson.

Roy Sparshott, vice-chairman of the Gosport Shed, said: ‘The principal has said that he would like us to stay and has given an assurance that our future on the campus will be long term.

‘The college is in a difficult position with the planning on site yet to be finalised so Matt can give no assurance that the Shed will remain in their existing buildings.

‘When he is in a position to do so he hopes to be able to offer us a bricks and mortar building which would suit us fine and to allow our members to undertake large projects which we are unable to do now.

‘All our members would like to remain on the site as it fits every requirement, especially parking.

‘We hope to continue with our excellent relationship with the college and will be available to help with arrears of the campus which would benefit everyone.’

Mr Atkinson added: ‘It’s been exciting to see how the group has grown over the past few years and we’re proud of our association with them.

‘It a great organisation and fits very well with the college’s strongly held community values.

‘We hope to be able to work with the Shed movement for many years to come.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage worked with the Shed when it first formed.

She said: ‘They offer company, comradeship and the chance to learn new skills to older gentlemen, at a time when loneliness is costing the NHS more than smoking.

‘Our Shed is a huge asset to our community.

‘I’m delighted the principal of St Vincent has committed to maintaining the group on site long-term.’

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 the most popular of its kind in the UK and projects it has undertaken include the restoration of a Mark 8 torpedo for the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and a Victorian lamppost outside of St George Barrack.