In February 2012 approximately 60 men who formerly worked in the construction sector got together with Inishowen Development Partnership in Carndonagh to discuss how they could make things better for themselves and other men in the area. Since then and over the past year the Men’s Shed Carn project has gone from strength to strength.
Philip Doherty, Men’s Shed Carn member said:
“When we started out in February 2012, a lot of men in Inishowen had found themselves, almost overnight, out of work with little or nothing to do following the collapse of the construction sector. The idea behind this project was to try to get involved in something worthwhile again. The shape and form the project took was completely driven by the group of local men who got involved, with the continual support of Inishowen Development Partnership.
“When we started out there was a sense of ‘what was the point’ amongst a lot of the men. There was a sense that the outlook in Inishowen was bleak and offered little of a positive nature for many of us. The Men’s Shed Carn project is a good example of how that outlook can be improved through working together.
Mary Mc Geehan, Inishowen Development partnership said:
“One year on, it is hard to believe that it is such a short time since the Men’s Shed Carn was established. In that time the men have showed a determination and passion to improve the situation for themselves and others in the area that deserves significant recognition.
“The project has evolved into many things for men from the area. The men have managed to secure and renovate premises at the old Co-op, additionally, a significant number of training courses have and are being delivered – everything from computing, health and safety training, safepass training to more practical woodworking courses (with FETAC accreditation). The men have been involved in raising funds for the project through such projects as making toys at Xmas and are currently working towards an Easter craft fair for which they are making garden furniture etc. In addition to this, with the support of staff from Inishowen Development Partnership, the group have secured funding for a boatbuilding course and regularly organise social activities and events such as a monthly card night and a trip to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast planned shortly.
She goes on to say, “Notably, the men have also engaged in significant fundraising over the last year to help get the project up and running through holding a number of fundraising events and having a ‘good as new’ last summer. A number of donations have also been made to other local and national charities such as Crumlin Children’s Hospital following these fundraising activities.
John Gerard Doherty, Committee Member said:
“We are delighted with how the project has evolved over the last 12 months and are very optimistic about where it will go in the future. We hope to expand on the number of existing members we currently have and welcome anyone who has any interest in finding out more about this project to call in any evening from 7.30-9.30pm Monday to Friday or from 9am-5pm on Wednesdays. There is something for everyone in this project.