A £20,000 expansion to grow a community project that provides workshops and team activities, helping residents around Beer to improve their skills, finally has the funds it needs.

It comes after East Devon District Council (EDDC) put £6,500 towards a crowdfunding campaign, along with Devon County Council (DCC) which contributed £1,000, to help Beer Men’s Shed to reach its target and pay for a new bigger building.

Beer Men's Shed has been successful in getting men from Beer and the surrounding towns and villages into its workshop to join in team activities and undergo projects that help the local community, while developing and improving their skills.

The group helps members to feel positive and useful in the community, increasing their sense of self-worth while also making new friends and dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation, which has been made worse by the pandemic.

Beer Men’s Shed already has one building but it is now far too small for the amount of men that want to join in. It is also not very accessible for people with mobility issues.

The money from the crowdfunding campaign will now be used to construct a second building so they have a lot more space, and it will be more accessible.

To find out more and watch their explanatory video visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/beer-mensshed-workshop-2

Chris Pickles, from Beer Men’s Shed, said:

The increasing number of men who want to join in a Men's Shed, together with the impact of lockdowns and self-isolation, mean that there has never been a time when we needed Men's Sheds more than now. 

Our crowdfunder campaign and the great support from EDDC and DCC mean that we can now build a much bigger shed where more men can join in, use equipment safely and still stay socially distanced.”

Councillor Jack Rowland, chair of the EDDC’s Community Grants Panel, said:

On behalf of EDDC as chair of the grants panel I’m very pleased to see the grant award to Beer Men’s Shed.

In these difficult times the success of what has been achieved since they first set up is evidenced by needing additional space to cater for the demand that has helped so many individuals and made contributions in their output to many communities in the locality, not just in Beer.

What they have achieved is to be applauded and wish them every continued success.”

Cllr Roger Croad, DCC’s cabinet member for communities, said:

Crowdfunding encourages communities to work together to identify new ideas for their mutual benefit.

It’s projects like the Men’s Shed that will be instrumental in helping communities reconnect once the pandemic is over.”

EDDC ward member for Beer, Cllr Geoff Pook added:

As EDDC councillor for Beer I am very pleased that EDDC has made this grant to Beer Men’s Shed.

The men’s shed has made a significant impact in Beer supporting local causes and  projects through their works but most of all giving men, not just from Beer but the wider area, the opportunity and place to get together, work and socialise.

It’s a great organisation and congratulations and thanks should go to Chris Pickles who has been the driving force behind it from the start.”

EDDC still has £60,000 of funding available to local community projects through Crowdfund East Devon. To find out more visit www.eastdevon.gov.uk/grants-and-funding/grants-available-from-us/crowdfunding/  

At the same time as raising money from the local community by crowdfunding, organisations can apply for up to £10,000 from the council for East Devon projects, and for a large amount of county-wide crowdfunding money available from DCC and from Devon and Cornwall Police.

If you’re interested and would like crowdfunding training, please email jbuckley@eastdevon.gov.uk