Beer Men’s Shed to expand with bigger building thanks to council grants

A men’s friendship group in Beer is gearing up to expand thanks to scooping council funding to build a bigger building.

Beer Men’s Shed has been awarded £6,500 from East Devon District Council and £1,000 from Devon County Council to reach its £20,000 crowdfunding target.

The community project, which began its fundraising in December 2020, aims to start building its new workshop in April 2021.

Chris Pickles, Beer Men’s Shed chairman, said: “The increasing number of men who want to join in a Men’s Shed, together with the impact of lockdowns and self-isolation, mean that there has never been a time when we needed Men’s Sheds more than now.

“Our crowdfunder campaign and the great support from East Devon District Council and Devon County Council mean that we can now build a much bigger shed where more men can join in, use equipment safely and still stay socially distanced.”

Beer Men’s Shed, founded in March 2019, boosts the mental health and wellbeing of men through practical projects to help the community and swapping skills in the workshop.

The project encourages men from nearby towns and villages to join.

Cllr Geoff Pook, EDDC ward member for Beer, welcomed the grant to expand the community project.

He said: “The men’s shed has made a significant impact in Beer supporting local causes and projects through their works, but most of all giving men, not just from Beer but the wider area, the opportunity and place to get together, work and socialise.

“It’s a great organisation and congratulations and thanks should go to Chris Pickles who has been the driving force behind it from the start.”

Councillor Jack Rowland, EDDC community grants panel chairman, said: “In these difficult times the success of what has been achieved since they first set up is evidenced by needing additional space to cater for the demand that has helped so many individuals and made contributions in their output to many communities in the locality, not just in Beer.

“What they have achieved is to be applauded and I wish them every continued success.”

EDDC still has £60,000 of funding available to community projects through Crowdfund East Devon.

Further grants of up to £10,000 are available from the council for East Devon projects.

And there is crowdfunding money available from Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police.

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