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November 5, 2014

Build a shed

Loneliness has become an epidemic in Britain. Long recognised as a problem amongst the elderly, being socially isolated is now affecting all ages. Research suggests that loneliness is more likely to kill a person than 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as deadly as obesity. And it seems that men are particularly prone. A simple solution, first tried in Australia 20 years ago, has developed into a worldwide movement and is now taking off in the UK. The village of Strathpeffer is next in line to build their very own men’s shed.


A COMMUNITY garden that could dramatically transform “an ugly piece of land” into a local asset could also provide the home for trailblazing “shedders” in a Ross-shire village.

The Strathpeffer plans for a men’s shed — which could provide a multi-use focus for older members of the community — come on the back of a growing worldwide movement established in countries as far flung as Australia.

A residents’ association in Strathpeffer was introduced to the concept by Ross-shire Voluntary Action (RVA) with a well-attended initial meeting, addressed by speakers from RVA and ROC (Reshaping Care for Older People), convincing supporters there was enough interest to go ahead with the project.

Concerns were raised about the lack of a suitable site for the shed and funding.

Strathpeffer Residents’ Association (SRA) secretary, Val Moffatt, believes a solution may be at hand. She said: “The site problem may be resolved by next year. SRA was set up in 2012 in response to local concerns about an area of derelict land in the village.

“The area, just beyond the Strathpeffer Primary School playing field, is covered in rose bay willow herb which at this time of the year, when it seeds, is a great nuisance to people living in the vicinity. Not only that it is a wasted resource.

“At the turn of the year SRA got a grant from the Big Lottery to fund a Feasibility study into the possibility of turning this ugly piece of local land into a useful community garden which will be an asset to the village.”

She added: “SRA have already consulted the community about the facilities they would like in the garden.

“On Wednesday, November 12, with the help of David Graham of Craignish Design, the company carrying out a feasibility study for SRA, there will be a public consultation day to discuss the proposed community garden in the Strathpeffer Community Centre. SRA is assuming that the feasibility study will show that the garden will be a brilliant development.

“So all being well, by spring 2015 the Shedders will have a site for their shed and we should have secured some funding for the actual shed and of course the whole community garden by then.”