Three Aberdeenshire men’s sheds are battling it out to be crowned Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year.
Aboyne and District, Stonehaven and District and Westhill and District are among five groups shortlisted by the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) for the prestigious title.
The award recognises and rewards the contribution and impact the group has made to society.
The Aberdeenshire groups will go head-to-head with groups from Dunoon and Dumfries with hopes of bringing the award home to the north-east.
Officials are now calling on the public to pick their winner by casting their vote online.
The public have until midnight on October 17 to cast their vote and crown their winner.
‘We are thrilled, immensely honoured and thankful’
The nomination for Westhill and District Men’s Shed marks the second time the group has been recognised for their commitment to community service.
The group became the worthy recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in recognition of their outstanding contribution to supporting the Westhill and surrounding area during the pandemic.
Trustee Stuart Ellis said: “We are thrilled, immensely honoured and thankful to the SMSA trustees for shortlisting our shed for this award.
“The amount of effort freely given by our members to help and support our community, and each other, has been truly inspirational as demonstrated by our recent award of the QAVS.
“During the year, we have also completed the fit out of an extension to the shed, with all work carried out by our members.
“Re-organisation of the workshops and social area has provided more space in each area, allowing us the opportunity to add more services and activities to our already busy programme and accept more new members.”
A real community effort
Bill Allan, chairman of the Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed, commended the efforts of fellow men’s sheds for their commitment in lending a helping hand to their host communities.
He said: “We are delighted to receive the news that our shed is on the shortlist, especially on reading the other applications and seeing the effort and dedication of the other sheds involved.
“It is heartening to see such involvement by men to the benefit of the community, and the SMSA is to be congratulated for such an outcome.”
Scottish Men’s Shed awards
The awards ceremony will be held virtually over zoom for a second consecutive year in light of the pandemic.
The event will coincide with the association’s annual general meeting taking place on November 4.
The winner will receive the esteemed targe trophy – designed and collectively created by the SMSA and several Sheds – to display at their Shed for a year on top of a cash prize and other goodies.
Jason Schroeder, SMSA’s executive officer, said it as inspiring to read of the strides being made by sheds up and down the country.
“The SMSA is delighted to have received such an excellent response, and an incredibly high standard of applications, for this year’s Awards,” he said.
“This year, the SMSA board of trustees changed the process to blind judging and all references to names, areas, regions, partners etc were removed.
“This afforded the opportunity for the trustees to review the applications based on the men’s shed model, their growth, their response to members’ needs and the impact they have in their communities without knowing who the application was from.
“It is inspiring to read about the life-changing impact sheds are having in their localities and these awards recognise and reward this work being carried out by vital volunteers across Scotland who are striving to improve the health and wellbeing of men over the age of 18.”