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How a shed has become a focal point for a local community

A Men’s Shed that equally welcomes women and has become a focal point in Clydach is one of a number to have benefited from funding from Swansea Council.

As well as providing a welcoming place for people to enjoy a cuppa and chat, The Old Blacksmiths runs activities and also away days that has seen boating on the nearby canal, bus trips to Mumbles and Tenby and even a chance to try indoor rock climbing.

Swansea Council is once again supporting Men’s Sheds across the city by making £25,000 available to support existing sheds and the development of new ones.

Applications are now open for this year’s funding with a closing date of Friday September 1.

Belinda Gardiner came up with the idea of The Old Blacksmiths after speaking with her daughter who lived in Australia and told her of the success of Men’s Sheds there.

Men’s Sheds are community spaces where people from all backgrounds can meet, chat and take part in the shed’s activities.

Belinda said: “We’ve been going for four years now and we average 40 to 45 people a session on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

“It’s a chance to get out of the house, meet up and have a chat. There’s no pressure to do anything, but there are activities if they want – some of the men and a lady do wood-turning making bird boxes and garden ornaments, and we’ve got a ladies shed where they do crafts.

“Last year we did five or six trips and also had a Christmas Dinner.”

Volunteer Paul Thomas has been involved in The Old Blacksmiths since it opened and said it had made a real difference to the people who attend.

Alyson Pugh, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Well-being, visited the shed last week.

She said: “The work that they do and the positive impact it has on people who might otherwise be feeling a little lonely or isolated, is truly amazing.

“I’m so proud that Swansea Council has been able to play a part in making this project such a success, and that we are making funding available to groups again this year.

“I would urge any groups that may be interested, to get in touch, whether they are established or just getting started, as our Tackling Poverty team are available for a friendly chat and advice about the opportunities for support that are available.”

There is no minimum or maximum amount set for applications, however it is anticipated the average grants will be around £2,000.

To apply visit https://www.swansea.gov.uk/supportforMensSheds