A shipping container is to become the hustling bustling hub for a initiative in Chorley allowing people the space to pick up any project that takes their fancy.
The shipping container, which has been refurbished for use as a garden shed, is to be the home of a new Men in Sheds project - except that women are welcome too.
John Hill, one of the people behind the initiative, said: “Studies show that men can, at major changes in their lives, lose their friends through retirement, bereavement and moving to be nearer family support for example.
“Women are generally much better at making new friends, joining activity groups, charity work and evening classes.
“Men’s sheds are a rare example, where men will go to because they are attracted by the practical nature of the shed.
“It has been set up to help address social isolation issues and should also help improve the prospects for employment and qualifications, for residents living in this ward and the neighbouring wards.
“Studies show that chronic isolation has the same mortality and morbidity effect as smoking 10 to 15 cigarettes a day.
“The men’s shed project aims to help address this by encouraging local men and women to come together and support one another in practical ways.
“They will use their experience and skills, such as carpentry, engineering and gardening, to fix and up-cycle house-hold items, with a view to selling them at concessional rates to local people.
“Any profits will be reinvested into the project.”
The shed, which is painted grey in colour, can be found nearby Chorley Football Club. It is a project backed by the club, Chorley Council and Lancashire Care Foundation Trust.
“Men’s shed is a concept which has been achieved across the world for many years now, to address social isolation, as simply a place where men, and in some sheds women, can just be,” said John.
“Traditionally sheds projects were initially set up for men, but the project steering group anticipated that there may be an interest from Chorley women wanting to be involved, so they agreed that this project would be available for women too.”
Even before a taster day took place last week 10 volunteers, including one woman, had come forward to express their interest.
John said: “All these people have skills ranging from engineering and carpentry skills, to administration and fundraising skills, which is all very exciting and very encouraging for the project.”
The official launch of the Men in Sheds project takes place on Saturday, May 26 at Chorley Football Club’s Beer Festival at 12pm.
Meanwhile volunteers are busy applying for funding to buy another shipping container and to make sure both containers are well stocked with tools and materials in readiness.
An application for planning permission for the two sheds is being tabled with town planners at Chorley Council now.
To view planning documents search 18/00094/FUL at planning.chorley.gov.uk