Launch of charity garden project ActivSheds which helps isolated men make friends while learning new skills

ActivLives and the Co-operative launch the new ActivSheds project at the Cress Pavilion in Ipswich.

ActivLives and the Co-operative launch the new ActivSheds project at the Cress Pavilion in Ipswich. - Credit: Su Anderson

A community garden project that is reaching out to isolated men in Suffolk has had its official launch.

Caretaker Trevor Prentice and volunteer Clive Loveday work on a project at the new ActivShed at the

Caretaker Trevor Prentice and volunteer Clive Loveday work on a project at the new ActivShed at the Cress Pavilion in Ipswich. - Credit: Su Anderson

ActivSheds is for men who would like to share knowledge, learn new skills, and pursue hobbies and interests to do with carpentry, DIY and construction.

Around 10 men between the ages of 20 and 60 have already formed an enthusiastic core group and have renovated a shed to use as their base.

The scheme is funded by The East of England Co-op and society president, Sally Chicken, cut the ribbon on Friday alongside deputy mayor of Ipswich, Bill Quinton and mayoress, Barbara Quinton.

ActivSheds coordinator Jo Whittle said the scheme offered an opportunity for lonely or isolated men to make new friends and to get involved in positive activities.

She added: “I think they are a harder to reach community. Women come to the garden and are quite confident about meeting new people and they are more used to being socially active.

“Men who may be retired or had to stop working for whatever reason don’t seem to be as confident in accessing services or volunteering.

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“In the future we might look at doing a women’s group.”

Donations of tools have poured in from members of the public after the charity put out an appeal, and the Co-op also gave the men a free drill.

ActivSheds runs on Fridays from 10am at ActivGardens, CRESS Pavilion, Halifax Road, Ipswich.

Anyone interested can contact: jo@activlives.org.uk or 07760 583950.