ALTON Men’s Shed appears to have landed firmly on its feet with not one but two plans now in place for a suitable town centre base.
Now the group is seeking sponsorship to help raise the £15,000 needed to bring the venues on board.
In addressing a packed public meeting at All Saints Parish Church hall last Monday, Men’s Shed chairman Ian Scott revealed that not only had the group been granted temporary planning permission by East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) to site a shed in the hall car park, on Queen’s Road, but they had been offered an opportunity to take over an undeveloped corner of the Alton Maltings Centre.
It has been, said Mr Scott, an “amazing response” to an appeal, launched in June this year, for somewhere the group could call home.
Having obtained the support of both EHDC and Alton Town Council in their bid to find a base, Alton ‘Shedders’ – who now exceed 30 in number – were delighted to receive permission to construct a timber-framed building to use as a workshop for community projects in Queen’s Road.
Being in a predominantly residential area, there was concern over possible noise problems relating to activities in the shed. Mr Scott said that ‘Shedders’ have tried to allay these fears by chatting with residents, and permission has been granted for a 12-month period, with limited usage hours.
In the meantime, the Grain House Trust, the owner of Alton Maltings Centre, has come up trumps by offering an opportunity to work with the Men’s Shed to bring an as yet undeveloped part of the historic building back into community use.
While the new shed is expected to cost in the region of £6,000, this second project could almost treble that requirement.
The group is appealing to businesses and individuals to support the Men’s Shed projects, in the hope that it will be able to secure match funding from EHDC.
Mr Scott said: “With both of these exciting projects ready to be taken forward and a pool of Shedders keen to muck in, the group is now looking for financial support to make it happen.”