Our story of creation has been one of ups and downs at times we thought we would never succeed at all! However, succeed we did and with funding from Age Concern Heathfield and District and various funding organisations, we are now the proud members of a fully-equipped wooden workshop building with an adjacent meeting room. It is also home to a smallholding of farm animals and a nursery for pre-school aged children.
The Heathfield Men’s Shed not only provides a safe place for its members to meet and carry out the usual hobby type activities, but we also pride ourselves in being active members of the community and enjoy linking up and participating in joint activities with the children and staff at the adjacent nursery school and with other community groups in the town. We also have close relationships with local markets and shops selling our wares. click the images below to enlarge and scroll
It was at one such community event, we met one of our most famous local residents – Roger Daltrey. You may know him as the legendary lead singer in the rock group ‘The Who’. Roger was very interested in our Men’s Shed project as he had come across the idea of Men Shed during his travels, and so he was delighted to discover that there was to be a Shed in his own local community.
At the time, Roger had just completed his latest book with help from Matt Rudd, a senior writer and deputy editor of the Sunday Times Magazine. Matt was also in the process of writing his own book looking at the different stages of men’s lives – from relationships to marriage to buying a home and having a family, to the financial burdens of mortgages, bills, careers and pensions and finally, of course, to retirement. Matt was exploring how men adjusted to these different stages and was particularly keen to come down and visit the Men’s Shed to meet and talk to some of the members about how they had adjusted to retirement. So, one wet morning Matt paid us a visit and took time to talk to individuals about what they had done in their working lives, why they had chosen to retire when they did, and how they now filled up their time.
Different stages in men’s lives – from relationships to marriage to buying a home and having a family, to the financial burdens of mortgages, bills, careers and pensions and finally of course to retirement
He was impressed to find members from all different backgrounds, professions and with ages ranging from early ’60s to the mid’90s, all sitting together and enjoying each other’s company. It soon became clear that the most important thing for our members was the friendship and laughter they could enjoy at our weekly sessions. Little did we know that we were to claim fame from this visit – we are mentioned in Matt’s book ‘Man Down’ which was completed and promoted in the Sunday Times Magazine (20/08/20).
He was impressed to find members from all different backgrounds, professions and with ages ranging from early ’60s to the mid ’90s, all sitting together and enjoying each other’s company
One of the members, Ron, who Matt had spent considerable time talking to on the day he visited, sadly, passed away before the book was published, but as Ron was specifically mentioned we bought a copy of the book to present to Ron’s son at his funeral – something that was much appreciated by Ron’s family.
Like all the other Men’s Sheds, we have been forced to stay closed for most of this past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we are itching to get back together again to ‘connect, create and converse’ and who knows who our next visitor might be! We are currently observing Covid guidelines by finalising the last exterior jobs and are gagging to finally get inside to finalise, set up & run all the equipment.
Photographs of our build & more details are available via our website at: www.ageconcernheathfield.org.uk
Peter – Founder Heathfield Men’s Shed. (HMS)