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Shed project hopes to bring together older men in Ely

A CENTRE aimed at giving older men the chance to meet and take part in practical pastimes is to open in Cardiff in the New Year.

The Men in Sheds group has taken over the old betting shop at the Dusty Forge in Ely in what will be the first project of its kind in Cardiff.

The Shed is designed to be an area to support older men in particular as they take part in practical activities. The idea was developed in Australia and has since spread across the globe.

The Cardiff project was given the go-ahead in March. It will not follow a strict timetable but will be driven by the desires of those who use it.

Dave King, founder of Cardiff Men in Sheds, said: “It will very much be up to the users to decide how the space is used. We don’t want to dictate to anybody, and we’re keen to see the activities being led by local residents.”

It has taken some time for the Men in Sheds project in Cardiff to find a suitable site . But when ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely) stepped in to offer the old betting shop, the idea could finally become reality.

building work taking place

Building work in progress at the Dusty Forge site earlier this year

“ACE have been great. They owned the building but had no plans for it, so they were very happy to support us. It could also be a great partnership in the future as they do a lot of work with younger men and there could be a chance to work alongside them,” Mr King said.

Willmott Dixon Construction, developer of the One Central Square project in the city centre,  also helped the project get off the ground. The company, along with its subcontractors, donated a large amount of materials and labour to kit out the building.

Sam Withers, an administrator at Willmott Dixon who oversaw the partnership, said: “We always look to give something back to the community within the area of a current project. We met Dave King and ACE at the Dusty Forge and decided it was exactly what we wanted to get involved with. The building will have a new kitchen, toilet, flooring, and three work stations with electrical sockets.”

The Shed is due to open in January and Mr King wants to spread the word to residents.

“We want as many local men as possible to come down and use the new facility. It is open to anyone regardless of age or gender.”

Doug Smith, who lives nearby, is excited about the opening.

He said: “I hope this shed will fill a void which has been created by the closure of day centres and other organisations. It will be a great place to be able to socialise and share similar interests with other members.”

Mr King hopes the project will launch in January and asked for help from local Ely and Caerau residents.

“I’ll be there painting this Wednesday for a couple of days, so if anybody could help us out with that it would be great. Just come along to the Dusty Forge at 460 Cowbridge Road West.”

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