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Brechin Men’s Shed aiming for numbers boost to play important post-pandemic role

Brechin Men's Shed chairman Bill Pennycook and secretary Gordon Strachan at their base in the old town church.
Brechin Men's Shed chairman Bill Pennycook and secretary Gordon Strachan at their base in the old town church.

Brechin Men’s Shed is banking on a swell of support to help it meet an expected surge in demand from local groups emerging from lockdown.

As the team figure out how to operate safely when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, it has made a plea for new members as part of Shed Fest 2020, a national initiative for the groups which aim to reduce loneliness and isolation among men in their local communities.

Secretary Gordon Strachan and chairman Bill Pennycook working on a storage unit for a town nursery.

There are around 600 Men’s Sheds across the UK, directly helping an estimated 15,000 families.

The Brechin group operates from Panmure Street’s former West and St Columba’s Church and was set up in the mid-2018.

It boasts around 30 members, but secretary Gordon Strachan said he would like to see more regulars – and expects the coming months will offer plenty to keep them busy.

“We have had to close since all this started, but one or two have been going in to do little projects,” said Gordon.

“When we first got going we were open three days a week, but before coronavirus we were running Monday to Friday pretty much all day.”

Community leaders have identified Men’s Sheds as one of the organisations which could play a pivotal dual role in the emergence from the Covid-19 crisis, helping bring men back together and providing valuable help for local organisations.

Gordon added: “We have already done lots of projects for local schools like Maisondieu and Andover primary schools, Brechin Pantry, the Boxing Club and the Rugby Club.”

The town’s Small World Nursery is another organisation the Men’s Shed is gearing up to help as early years providers across Angus gear up to deliver additional provision for young children.

“We’re lucky to have had this premises, but we had struck a deal with another businessman for another building and were looking to move in April/May before that was put on hold.

“We will have to put our heads together to work out how we are going to operate once the restrictions are lifted. It may mean that we’ll have to stagger days for people, but we would be very keen to try and get more members in.

“I imagine that there may be some men out of work, or still furloughed so hopefully once we are able to re-open we can boost attendance a bit,” added Gordon, who can be contacted on 07594 618646 by anyone interested in joining.

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