Community ‘heartbroken’ as safe haven for isolated men faces closure
PUBLISHED: 09:08 18 January 2019
Emotions are running high as a project offering vulnerable and isolated men a place to ‘fit in’ teeters on the brink of closure.
Pastor Barry Rooks set up The Shed in Wymondham as a safe haven for men to learn practical skills and connect with others in similar situations.
The project moved to its base on Ayton Road, Wymondham, in February 2018 after agreeing to renovate the building in exchange for reduced rent.
Since then, men supported by the initiative transformed the derelict building to house two full-size work shops, a media suite and rooms to facilitate the broad programme of activities.
But Mr Rooks said six months of financial strain had taken their toll on the project and unless £10,000 could be pledged by the end of next week, the group would not be able to renew its lease.
The Wymondham pastor said: “Feelings are running very high at the moment and the men we support are very upset at the prospect of us having to leave the space we’ve worked hard renovating.
“We are at a crucial stage and the worst case scenario is if we can’t secure the funds we will have to close completely.”
Mr Rooks said there was just weeks left before the renovation was set to be completed and once finished would allow the organisation to be self-sufficient by letting space out to other community groups.
The threat of closure has upset many people in the local community and a number of councillors and social workers have voiced their support for the organisation.
Wymondham mayor Tony Holden said: “There isn’t much in the way of community anymore and men especially are suffering as a result of living in an increasingly insular world.
“The Shed is one of the few places these guys can go to work constructively side by side and establish friendships which allow them to open up.
“This project has been three years of work and to see that go to waste for the sake of raising funds would be heart-breaking.”
To support The Shed Wymondham contact Mr Rooks via Facebook by searching for The Shed Wymondham or on 07791 088761.