Members of the Trim Men’s Shed pictured at their premises on the Athboy road.

‘We will not be found wanting in our efforts to build a workshop for our members by the end of 2024’

Trim Men's Shed is planning to embark on its ambitious redevelopment plan in 2024 to provide a much needed new workshop building.

A valuable social outlet for local men, Trim Men's Shed was initially set up a decade ago by Trim Family Resource Centre and is currently accommodated in a leaky portacabin that is over 20 years old that is in a poor state of repair.

The group has been fundraising for a number of years and is also hoping to access grant funding to deliver the first of their two-phase project to provide a new workshop.

Meath Co Council has agreed a licence at their existing location at the Eamon Duggan Industrial Estate and the plan is to install a new modular building that will contain their workshop and use the existing prefab as their meeting room.

Secretary Vic Nugent explained that at present they operate from a 40ft by 24ft portacabin is split -with a workshop in one half and their social and meeting room in the other half.

The Men's Shed has about 30 active members with 15-20 in most Tuesday and Thursday mornings so space is tight in the workshop in particular

The plan is to install a new workshop and use all of the older portacabin as their meeting and social room which will give them more space for classes and courses and general social activities. When they have further funds in place they will embark on the second phase, which will be to remove the old portacabin and install a new meeting and social room. This is likely to be still about three years away and their priority for the moment is to concentrate on delivering the new workshop.

The new workshop structure will be modular style and constructed off site and then dropped into place which means it will be up and running straight away. “The portacabin we are in is about 20 years old, is leaking in the roof and the floor and we can’t do anything with it,” explained Vic.

“We are maintaining it as best we can. It has served us well up to this. We have active membership of 25 to 30 people in the Shed, but there is not enough room in the workshop for the number of people working there.

“We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 until 1pm but members will go up outside of these times to work on their projects which is fine as long as they’ve got somebody else with them. We are also hoping to start opening on Wednesday mornings as well.”

“We hope to have the new workshop in place by this time next year but a lot of water will flow under the Boyne bridges before Phase 1 is completed,” said Vic.

“All we can say with certainty at this time is that we will not prove wanting in our dedication and willingness to work to achieve our objective of having a new workshop for our members by the end of 2024.”

A major fundraising drive as been ongoing in the Shed and one of their biggest events is their annual Golf Classic held in July.

They also have a street collection churchgate collection in October. Just the weekend before last, Ultimate Conditioning held its annual Christmas Swim fundraiser where 16 hardy souls took to the chilly waters of the Boyne to raise funds for the shed. Several local councillors have also given allocations from their discretionary funding.

Vic paid tribute to Bernard Smyth of Ultimate Conditioning for organising the swim and said he’s been hugely helpful to the shed. “He turned up about four years ago, and said they’d had a cycle over the Christmas period for us and handed over €1500. We were entirely surprised and ever since then he’s always run something around Christmas time.”

Speaking about what the shed means to its members, Vic said he could only speak from himself, but he’s sure he speaks for many of the members when he says he would be lost without it.

“I live on my own. I’m secretary so there is a lot of work to do with the Shed. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. It is everything to me.”

He added that it is well governed and well run and they also try to help out in the community where they can by doing small jobs for people and helping out with events like Darkness into Light.

“It is the only way some people have of interacting when they retire after working all their lives. They would have been used to being in and out of work, on the phone and having the craic, their minds occupied and their mental health was perfect. “Then often they drop off a cliff when they retire with nothing to do and no work to go to. And that’s where the Shed comes in. The Shed movement is exceptionally good and active.

“We attended a Shed conference in Virginia recently attended by Minister, Heather Humphreys and she announced €1million in grants for sheds for the year. There are 430 sheds in Ireland and we get €3,000 towards the cost of running the premises” .

New members are always welcome and while the men who go generally tend to be retired people, they are keen to broaden the demographic and younger people are welcome to come along as well.

To find out more about joining, call up to Trim Men's Shed on Tuesday or Thursday mornings, or see Trim Men's Shed on Facebook, which has the Shed's contact details.