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Alex Sobel Celebrates Community Engagement during Wharfedale Men's Shed Visit



Alex recently visited the Wharfedale Men’s Shed, which is based in the Otley Courthouse. Alex met with 3 or the 4 founding members, Bob Miles, Stuart Gregory and Dave Scannell. During the visit Alex learnt about their current and past Projects since their formation 5 years ago, when it was first registered with the Men’s Shed Association.


Alex said, "It was impressive to see the Men’s Shed's dedication to upcycling and recycling materials, as well as their outreach efforts to local schools and community groups.


In the last five years Wharfedale Men’s Shed have been working with Wildlife Friendly Otley, making bird boxes, bird tables and Hedgehog pods. They have also made a Santa Sleigh for Ilkley Round Table, they have made and installed Swift Boxes at Westgate Primary School to name just a few of their projects.


As an advocate for community-driven initiatives and mental health awareness, Alex explained that “It was great to witness first-hand the incredible work being done at Wharfedale Men's Shed.” The visit provided an opportunity to meet with members and volunteers who contribute their time and skills to the well-being of our community.


"It was inspiring to witness the passion and dedication of the individuals at Wharfedale Men's Shed," remarked Alex.  "Their commitment to supporting one another and fostering a sense of belonging is a testament to the power of community."


Alex engaged in conversations with members about the importance of mental health awareness, particularly among men who may often feel reluctant to seek help. "The Men's Shed movement plays a vital role in promoting mental well-being by providing a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others and engage in meaningful activities," Alex emphasised.


During the visit, Alex learnt of the desired plans of the Wharfedale Men’s Shed. Since their formation, whilst they are grateful to rent the Otley MakerSpace workshop in Otley Courthouse, they have been looking for better accommodation, due to space restrictions, which affects the well-being support and skill sharing opportunities they can offer.


They have identified a potential site at owned by Leeds Parks (formerly part of Grove Hill Park) and hope that by May of this year they can apply for the relevant regulatory approvals required and begin to seek funding for the proposed construction.


The new building would provide two spaces, a large workshop for woodworking and metalworking and a smaller ‘clean workshop/soft craft area’ that could be used by other local groups.


Such a workshop would mean the Men’s Shed would be able to facilitate more projects that they have previously had to turn down, due to working area and storage restrictions. The new workshops would also be able to see the formation of a Women’s Shed, which has been requested on several occasions.


Alex was shown the proposed new site area and a sketch of the proposed new building. “The building would be of great benefit to the Men’s Shed as well as other local community groups and projects. I wish them every success in being able to go ahead with their proposal and will offer whatever assistance I can.”


Alex said, "I fully support the efforts of Wharfedale Men's Shed and similar initiatives across our constituency, and I am committed to amplifying their voices and championing their cause."



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