Longford Leader gallery: Longford Men's Shed celebrate official opening of their new home

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The ever growing popularity of Longford Men's Shed has seen it take up residence at a new home this week inside the grounds of St Mel's College.

Thanks to the goodwill of the secondary school's board of management and the local Diocesan Trust, the organisation has swapped its previous base at the rear of Longford Post Office to St Mary's, a disused building formally occupied by a group of local nuns.

Enda Dooley, Chairperson of Longford Men's Shed said the decision to relocate was borne out of both a need for additional space and a gradual growth in membership numbers.

“We approached the Diocesan Trust and St Mel's Board of Management to see if that premises (St Mary's) which was empty for a long number of years was available and thankfully they agreed,” he said.

Just over a year later and in the aftermath of some painstaking behind the scenes works, the Men's Shed's new headquarters was officially opened on Monday by Bishop Francis Duffy.

Financial assistance in aiding the group's transition was likewise forthcoming from both Longford County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Such monetary support enabled the Men's Shed to purchase vital equipment in helping renovate the building's ground floor.

Enda said while it is hoped the group would press ahead with a series of projects, among which in the past have included projects geared towards the local Tidy Towns and Longford's Memorial Garden, for now all efforts will be directed at ensuring the group's new home is brought up to a fully complete standard. “We have a membership of 40 at the minute and we are really at out limit,” he said. “The top floor still has to be done so there's still work to be done.

“Even though we are full at the minute, we are open to anybody from 18 upwards and it's not just about work, there is a social aspect to it too.

“If people can do different things like woodwork and that then that's fine, but people can also come in and socialise, have a cup of tea or coffee and take part in educational as well as cultural trips we go on.”