Village's 'Men's Shed' officially reopens after lockdown closure

The official reopening of the Debenham Shed, which has received a £2,500 grant 

The official reopening of the Debenham Shed, which has received a £2,500 grant - Credit: Lucy Taylor Photography/Community Action Suffolk

The Debenham Shed workshop,  a "social lifeline" which encourages members to talk, has officially reopened thanks to a community grant.

Based in a 40ft former shipping container in Low Road, the charity was able to buy PPE equipment and tools, before hosting a relaunch open day for the community at its base. 

The project is part of the UK Men's Shed Association, boosting mental wellbeing.

But it's not just men who are welcome - it also has women members and is open to everyone. It is currently expanding its base.

The official reopening of the Debenham Shed, which welcomes both men and women 

The official reopening of the Debenham Shed, which welcomes both men and women - Credit: Lucy Taylor Photography/Community Action Suffolk

The shed had been forced to close during lockdown, but now a £2,500 grant means it can relaunch with full safety measures in place, as well as buying more tools. 

Fundraiser Douglas Tatem said: “We’re delighted to have been able to formally reopen our Debenham Shed and are so grateful to all those from within the community who turned out to show their support and to welcome us back.

“It’s been a challenging time for so many over the last year. We know that the nature of Men’s Sheds is that they provide an incredibly powerful asset in the lives of those who attend.”

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The grant has been awarded via the Suffolk Community Restart programme, which is being led by Community Action Suffolk. A spread of food was provided by the East of England Co-op, another major supporter of the Shed.

Mr Tatem said: “We feel very fortunate to have been in receipt of a Community Restart grant, enabling us to get back up and running quickly and safely.”

Suffolk Community Restart involves partnership working with Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council, West Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils.

Alan Page, from UK Men’s Shed Association, said: “It’s such a happy occasion to see another shed welcoming back the community after many months of disruption or closure throughout the pandemic.

“As a nationwide network, we recognise what a part we play in the mental and emotional wellbeing of those who visit regularly - and we know that the concept helps us prevent isolation and loneliness.

Jonny Wood, of Community Action Suffolk’s ‘Restart’ team

Jonny Wood, of Community Action Suffolk’s ‘Restart’ team - Credit: Lucy Taylor Photography/Community Action Suffolk

Jonny Wood, from Community Action Suffolk’s Restart team, added: “The Shed is exactly the kind of initiative we look to support through the Restart programme. It’s bringing something excellent to the community by way of a sociable opportunity..

For more information about joining the Debenham Shed, email here. Groups can still apply for Restart grants by visiting the website.


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