A UK-wide group which provides both a social and creative outlet for men is in the process of establishing a new base in Carrickfergus.
The Men’s Shed Association runs a number of groups across Northern Ireland, with several in County Antrim.
Each unit typically caters for a number of activities from gardening to woodwork, while also providing a regular meeting place for those attending.
Leading the efforts to set up a local branch is Carrick man Fred Berry, 73, who has been attending the Men’s Shed group in Duncairn Gardens, north Belfast for the past 18 months.
An initial meeting to gauge interest in a Carrick unit was held last Tuesday evening in Sainsbury’s at Rodger’s Quay, during which a committee was elected.
“Activities we are hoping to provide are painting, woodwork, metalwork, gardening and model making, along with any other activities the men want to participate in. There will be trips as well,” said Fred, from the Downshire area of the town.
“The north Belfast [Men’s Shed] has given me encouragement and any information I needed to help set the group up.”
Meanwhile, Knockagh councillors Andrew Wilson and Paul Sinclair are due to put forward a motion in support of the Men’s Shed movement to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The motion, which will be considered at the next meeting of the local authority on September 5, urges MEABC to “recognise the importance of the emerging Men’s Shed culture in Northern Ireland and... guide local groups’ efforts to set up and run Men’s Sheds in Mid and East Antrim.”
The issue was also discussed at a meeting of the Greenisland Regeneration group last Thursday evening, Cllr Wilson said. “[We agreed to add our support and any expertise or information to the idea to get it started,” he added.
“There was initial discussion about offering the men’s shed group an allotment at Greenisland but this has yet to be offered formally.”
Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the local branch of the group is encouraged to make contact through the Facebook page, Men’s Shed Carrickfergus.