09:00AM, Friday 01 October 2021
Tony Jones with the produce for Burnham Care & Share. Photo by Lisa Pope
The CEO of Burnham Men’s Shed has thanked the local community and the Louis Baylis Trust for its support.
Burnham Men’s Shed (BMS) was first opened in the village in June 2019, giving people the chance to take up interests such as woodwork, mending, digging and building in a bid to build social connections and boost their mental health.
Men’s Sheds, which are similar to garden sheds, can be found across the country.
Discussing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Jones, CEO of Burnham Men’s Shed, said it shut ‘virtually overnight’ and was hit ‘pretty hard’.
He explained that the shed, which welcomes both men and women, also lost members during the pandemic.
However, after re-opening in March this year, Tony expressed his thanks to those in the community who have supported the initiative.
It could no longer use the shed it was renting because Burnham Bowls Club needed it, but the club offered spare ground behind the clubhouse to put up a new shed.
Using money raised from fundraising events, a £1,400 grant from the Louis Baylis Trust and grants from Burnham Parish Council and the Hitcham Trust, members were finally able to buy a new shed.
Tony said BMS came ‘very close’ to ‘folding up’, but these grants put it back on its feet again.
Offering his thanks to the community, Tony said: “I've been quite touched with the support that we've got.
“One of the areas that I was most surprised about was having got the money for the shed, we realised that if we had a bigger shed, it would enable us to do more work within the shed itself and that would help develop the teamwork and the community spirit.”
Touching on how the grant from the Louis Baylis Trust, which owns the Advertiser, has helped, he added: “Together with the other help that we've had from the community, it enabled us to buy the shed otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to do it.”
Tony added that he would also like to thank Burnham Health Promotion Trust (BHPT) for its help and support, and Octagon Group, which helped with both the laying of a flat base for the shed as well as the erection of the shed itself.
Burnham Men’s Shed is also growing vegetables for Burnham Care & Share.
It is now looking ahead to producing items to sell for Christmas and entering craft fairs.