A north-east charity which reduces loneliness in older men has scooped a national award for their work and contribution to the local community.
Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed has been recognised as Member Group of the Year for its collective efforts to cut down on social isolation by offering older men a place to gather and carry out various projects.
The award presentation took place yesterday during Age of Scotland’s online ceremony, with secretary, Douglas Knox, accepting the trophy on behalf of the “Shedders”.
The thriving Men’s Shed was described as “truly outstanding” by the national charity for older people.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “It gives me great pleasure to present our Member Group of the Year award to the Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed.
“This is a truly outstanding group whose work to combat loneliness, build strong social and community connections and support Legs4Africa by making prosthetic limbs for amputees in Africa makes them very worthy winners indeed.”
The group was formed in 2016 by volunteers, who banded together to “make a positive difference in older people’s lives”.
Since then, the Shed has gained more than 60 members who come along on a regular basis with more than 100 others who have expressed an interest to join the group.
Accepting the award yesterday, Bill Allan, chairman of the Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed, said: “We are delighted to be the recipient of the award for Member Group of the Year 2020 from Age Scotland.
“It reflects the ambition of the community in Stonehaven as the aim of the Shed is to enhance the physical and mental health of older people in the community by encouraging social interaction through shared activities.
“We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous encouragement and funding we received in the early days of our project from Age Scotland as this helped us to demonstrate that we could raise match funding towards major grant sources.”
In October last year, the group moved to their first community facility at Stonehaven’s Beach Pavilion, after securing £85,000 from a variety of bodies to renovate the derelict building.
Members of the Men’s Shed joined forces to save the site from demolition after Aberdeenshire council announced plans to dispose of the building, which has been a beloved venue for a wide range of events since 1930.
A library window display has recently been put together by the group’s members to mark 90th anniversary of the Beach Pavilion, after their planned celebration in July was canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Group trustee Duncan Cursiter, who was behind the idea of the display, said it aims to showcase the wide range of activities they are involved in.
He said: “The Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed is a vital resource for our town, that offers men a place to meet, get involved in projects, make new friends, learn new skills and combat social isolation.
“Many of us have put a lot of work to get to where we are today, so we wanted to show the locals what we do, highlight the 90th anniversary of Stonehaven’s Beach Pavilion and celebrate our group saving the building and turning into a community asset.
“And now, to have the award as part of the display as well is just wonderful.”