Portarlington locals have successfully started up a branch of the international Men’s Shed association.
The idea behind Men’s Sheds is to give men who are out of a job a space to work on small projects together, and just as importantly, to meet and chat.
Eleven men came to the first meeting a month ago, but more are joining every week, says Darren Byrne, who started the group.
“The whole thing is to get guys on the dole out of the house for a couple of hours, to meet up, keep occupied, give them a bit of sanity. I’ve been on the dole, I know how demoralising it can be. I want to be proactive and do something to help,” he said.
The group are mixed in age, from teens to pensioners, and have been meeting at Darren’s business premises, Alert Forklifts in Botley Lane Industrial Park.
“It’s in its infancy yet. We are sitting down and planning what to do, and following up on ideas. We are starting to look into grant assistance,” he said.
They are on the lookout for a permanent workshop in the town.
“We are looking for donations of materials and tools too, that would be super. We are looking for local projects to work on,” he said.
There is no committee to join he says.
“There is only one condition, the kettle is always boiled. If someone wants to come in here, have tea, that’s fine. They can make a birdbox, do gardening, recondition an engine, whatever they like,” he said.
The group meet every Thursday, from 4pm to 7pm. Call Darren at 085 7434884 or see www.menssheds.ie