Plans have been lodged to convert a former florists in Nairn into a community space for men to meet up and get involved with local projects.
The Nairn Men’s Shed project will be located in the former Stephen Seedhouse florist building by Nairn train station which, historically, was an old train station waiting room.
It is hoped that the new group will be up and running in their new premised by the end of July or early August.
The Men’s Shed project started in Australia and has since spread across the globe with a view of offering men of all ages a place where they can talk and pursue new hobbies with each other.
Activities at the shed in Nairn will include a workshop for metal work and woodwork and a room for people to develop their IT skills.
Taking in old furntiture and up-cyling it and selling it on is one activity which has taken place in Men’s Sheds elsewhere.
A working party was established on the project led by four local men – Jeff Baker, Rupert Furze, Bob Wilson and Michael Burnett – and currently about 20 people have signed up as members.
Yesterday the project’s planning and architectural consultant, Matthew Hilton, who works for chartered building consultants HHL Scotland in Nairn, said: “Transport Scotland owns the building and Scotrail is the leaseholder and they have been really supportive with everything. Scotrail had looked at other options to commercial rent, and decided there was not a lot of demand.
“Men’s Shed is a community group where local people come together and share ideas and it keeps people active, and it’s all about social inclusion. Membership at the moment is less than 20 but there is talk about doing a membership drive when they are moved into the premises. The average membership is between 50 and 100 men per shed.”
Mr Hilton added that renovation work would involve stripping down the timber front of the building to burn off the existing paint before repainting it all.
He said that the building itself has lain empty for about a year and is currently in a run down state.
Both the planning application and listed building consent for the new Men’s Shed project were validated by Highland Council’s planning department on April 26.