A LOCAL GROUP in South Lanarkshire has transformed an abandoned public toilet into a safe community space for men thanks to funding from a nearby wind farm.
Stonehouse Men’s Shed was awarded £5,800 from Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund, which was designed to support local community and environmental projects.
The group, which was previously meeting in the limited space of the local community centre, leased the disused building in the centre of the village, then converted it into fit for purpose club rooms, providing local men with a place to socialise and converse.
Stonehouse Men’s Shed, which has more than 40 members, is now going from strength to strength, continuously growing to offer more men social and hobby space – it was the first Men’s Shed in South Lanarkshire which boasted its own bespoke building.
Brian Adams, Treasurer of Stonehouse Men’s Shed, said: “If it wasn’t for the funding we received from the Banks wind farm through the KMCP, we never could have afforded the building or the conversion work.
“With the various grants, we were able to gut out the toilets building and totally refurbish its interior. We also fenced in the rear land for two cabins to provide additional space then installed central heating.
“Our self-contained building is the envy of other Men’s Sheds in the county as most are all working out of old buildings or portacabins – we are very lucky to have the facilities that we do have, but they are catching up fast.”
Stonehouse Men’s Shed started formally in 2018 as a registered charity and aims to provide men with the opportunity to meet, make projects or play board games, providing members with a host of mental health and wellbeing benefits.
These positive impacts can include increased confidence and sense of purpose, with 89% of regular ‘Men’s Shedders’ noticing a decrease in depression and a 75% decrease in anxiety.
The group is now planning to build upon its outdoor facilities as part of the next stage of refurbishment.
Brian added: “We have further plans to extend our garden space, taking away the undergrowth and installing paths, benches and plants – it will be a great space for not only the group members, but also the community on suitable occasions.
“The concept of Men’s Shed is an incredibly important one. Men’s mental health isn’t talked about enough and we are proud to be providing a safe and secure space, especially for those who are perhaps isolated or on their own.
“Thanks to the grant we received from Banks Renewables, along with other subsequent funds, Stonehouse Men’s Shed is a vibrant hub which helps improve the health and wellbeing of the local community.”
Stonehouse Men’s Shed is just one in the long list of South Lanarkshire community initiatives that Banks Renewables has supported through the Kype Muir Community Panel grant funding.
Applications for community funding are determined by the Kype Muir Community Panel (KMCP), a community led group made up of local community councillors who agree how grants can be awarded to best support local needs, aiming to leave a lasting legacy from Banks’ wind farm.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, said: “The Kype Muir community fund has helped a number of local groups just like Stonehouse Men’s Shed, which has benefited from our nearby wind farm.
“It has been a pleasure to learn of the incredible work that Stonehouse Men’s Shed has achieved for the local area and to be involved in helping such an inspirational initiative build its very own space is something to be proud of.”
“If it wasn’t for the funding we received from the Banks wind farm through the KMCP, we never could have afforded the building or the conversion work.” Brian Adams, Treasurer of Stonehouse Men’s Shed
Robert Craig, Chair of the Stonehouse Community Council, said: “The Men’s Shed is a very worthwhile project that benefits not only individuals, but the community at large. Funding from the windfarm is crucial to the development of projects like this.”
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic, social and environmental benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 each year to support surrounding communities.
The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum. This is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 100,000 homes, or more than 200,000 people.
To find out more about Stonehouse Men’s Shed, visit here