Funding boost for Be Safe Be Well

Thomas McCrory  of the Men's Shed checks out the new machine.
Thomas McCrory of the Men's Shed checks out the new machine.

A Limavady group established six years ago to promote safer communities for older people is celebrating after being awarded £10,000.

Be Safe Be Well runs a number of projects in the wider Roe Valley and Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.

The group has received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme for one of those projects, The Men’s Shed, based in Roemill Road in Limavady.

The Men’s Shed is specifically for men who are elderly, and who are unemployed and gives them an opportunity to learn new skills. It was established in Limavady over a year ago.

Project Manager Catherine Taylor is delighted at the £10,000 grant.

Ms Taylor explained the money has been invested in equipment that is being used by the Men’s Shed project. She said it has allowed the men’s crafting skills, and the production and wood crafting experience, to flourish.

The men were inspired to get the specialised machines after a visit to the Fablab in Derry.

They have since started a project with a local group, Roe Valley Bereaved by Suicide, to make memory boxes.

“It was really about pushing the men into an area of technical design they hadn’t experienced before,” said Ms Taylor, who explained the members of the Men’s Shed completed an NVQ in the subject.

“They have been amazing and they are really enjoying using it,” she said, adding they plan to share their new found skills and use of the machines with other Men’s Sheds.

“They have linked up with Roe Valley Bereaved by Suicide to produce memory boxes. They’re really beautiful,” said Ms Taylor, adding: “Everyone is really thrilled and it has really lifted the spirits of the guys. It’s a lovely reward for all the work they have put in.”

Among those delighted to have the new machines is Men’s Shed member and volunteer, Noel McKeever.

Noel completed the NVQ, and says his new found skills and knowledge are being put to good use.

“It’s brilliant. It’s a completely different way of working with wood, and makes a big difference to working with wood and the end result,” said Noel.

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director,congratulated the group and urged other groups to apply for “small pots of funding that can have such a big impact on local communities and lives”.