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Men in Sheds

Each year the Manx Lottery Trust supports as many as 60 projects and initiatives in the Isle of Man, awarding financial grants for the benefit of local people in the community.

The Trustees meet multiple times a year to consider funding applications, making sure to carefully research and discuss each submission fairly and strategically, with the aim of supporting as many deserving causes throughout the Island as possible.

Since it first established 28 years ago, the Trust, a delegated partner of Big Lottery Fund UK, has distributed more than £8 million to good causes on the Island. That means that either directly or indirectly, almost everyone on the Isle of Man has been touched by the work of the Manx Lottery Trust.

In 2017, The Southern Community Initiatives Men in Sheds Project was awarded £13,935 by the Trust towards creating a larger workspace for its members. The grant helped to fund a significant extension to the double garage and dedicated woodworking shed, based off Castletown Road in Port Erin.

The Men in Sheds concept, which originated in Australia in the 1990s, addresses loneliness and social isolation in retired men. The concept made its way to the Isle of Man in 2011 when Southern Community Initiatives opened ‘The Shed’ to provide older men living in the south of the Island with an opportunity to get together, meet like-minded people, learn new skills and get involved with various woodwork and metalwork projects.

Around 20 members meet at the workshop every day to get stuck in and lend a hand. Projects are varied and have included making stage props for local dance and drama groups, repairing benches for a nearby residential home, designing and building a replica boat and constructing a huge Easter egg for the Isle of Man Steam Railway.

Since it first opened the workshop has become an important community asset, establishing itself as a key support network for older people in the Island who wouldn’t otherwise have one, as well as offering support to other charitable, voluntary, cultural and faith organisations.

Up until the Manx Lottery Trust stepped in with a grant to assist with the extension of the workshop, Men in Sheds were having to limit themselves to smaller projects due to limited work and storage space. This meant The Shed wasn’t operating at its full potential and although members were keen to get involved with bigger, more challenging projects, they simply weren’t able to. 

One year on from the completion of the workshop extension and Men in Sheds is thriving.

Opening three days a week, members come together to relax and unwind, socialise and work together on hands-on projects in a spacious and welcoming community hub. Over the past year Men in Sheds has been able to get involved with much bigger, professional projects including:

  • Large octagonal raised beds for Foxdale Community Garden
  • Life size Santa's Sleigh for Peel Commissioners
  • Inspired large wall floral display unit for Dalby Church
  • Island in Bloom Shed Designed feature picnic table for the Hub Art Garden

Southern Community Initiatives and the members of the scheme are very grateful to Manx Lottery Trust for its generous support, which has provided Men In Sheds with a new lease of life.