Peterhead Men's Shed open for business

After seven years of hard work by its 90 volunteer members, Peterhead Men’s Shed is now officially ‘complete’ with its eighth and final unit in place offering more space and a wider selection of activities to its members.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:02 pm
The plaque in honour of ‘Monty’

The gates to its impressive yard are now open with eight separate units - including office, social area/’the hub’, wood turning workshop, engineering room, joiner’s shed, toilets, kitchen and storage – and a garden area, surrounded by picturesque and tranquil sea views. At the yard entrance, there is a fitting tribute to honour the original Shed Chairman - a wall plaque dedicated to John ‘Monty’ Montgomery, ‘the most diligent foot soldier ever’.

Allan Shepherd, Shed Chairman and a veteran, said: “We have built this place up with our bare hands over the last seven years and are immensely proud of what we have achieved. There are so many people to thank for where we are today. First and foremost, we wish to recognise the magnificent efforts of our former Chairman who passed away not long after we received the 15-year lease for the yard and

unfortunately never saw all of this come to fruition.

The new gates to the shed.

“Our journey started back in 2014 when I got chatting to Jason Schroeder, Executive Officer from the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA), who was standing with a Men’s Shed pop-up at a public meeting in the town. From there, a small group of us started hiring the community centre hall to meet socially and chat over cups of tea, play dominoes and put the world to rights.

“We began setting up a committee and began visiting other Sheds, the first one was Westhill & District Men’s Shed (the first Shed in Scotland), and we sort of modelled ours from what we saw that day. We started to receive support from the local community through donations, gifts in kind and garage clearances.

"People contacted us following the death of a loved one to offer tools, machinery and equipment to get us kitted out and we still receive requests to this day. We collect the items, keep what we need and rehome the rest – saving it all from landfill and giving them a new lease of life.

“We have received funding from numerous supporters over the years including the Royal Voluntary Service’s Sheds Grant Fund, Your Voice Your Choice, the Suez Communities Trust, The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund. We must also say a big thank you to the Buchan Development Partnership (BDP) for all their help, guidance and support.

Men’s Shed members thanked Cllr Dianne Beagrie and Asda Community Champion Zoe Scarisbrick

“We were approached by the owners of the yard in 2017 and offered it on a 15-year lease on the agreement that we cleaned up the place. The sea wall that had crumbled was rebuilt, we reinstated the gate and put up the fencing. We then started to hear about portable cabins and containers becoming available and spoke to the owners and was donated every unit we have.

"With the addition of the eighth unit, we are now fully fitted out – we have truly maximised the space available to us.

“We have always received huge support from the local community including our Asda Community Champion Zoe Scarisbrick and local Councillor, Dianne Beagrie.

"We are also really blessed to have a dedicated team who step in regularly to support us with administration, promotion, funding applications and even making the odd homebake which is always gratefully received.

One of the members gets to work.

"Trustee Bob Thackeray, who is unfortunately ill at the moment, has done a power of work and he is the one to thank for completing our facilities after he donated the £20,000 Engineering Shed and some machinery.

“We generate income through the products we make and also hire out the hub to other community groups. The Shed also received funding last month through the ‘Peterhead Decides’ scheme, through Aberdeenshire Council and Peterhead Community Council, where the public decided how money should be spent.

“We like to get involved in local community projects, where we can, like making benches and mud kitchens and have been known to make the odd ice cream cart and chariot too and get involved in Santa’s Grottos and Food Banks – all to support our local area.

"This summer, we also had a bit of fun creating the ‘Really Rubbish Trophy’ - made using litter collected from the seaside - to recognise and celebrate our region’s Beach Clean Champions. ”

Treasurer Sandy Mundie said: “There is, understandably, a bit of reluctance from some members to return since we reopened. We are working hard to make the Shed a much better environment for them to return to and build up confidence to get back into daily activities.

"For me, I retired six years ago and have some health issues and have been coming to the Shed for almost five years now – the Shed gets me up in the morning and gives me something to look forward to."

Peterhead Men’s Shed is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4pm. Follow Peterhead Men’s Shed journey on Facebook.