14 February 2018

Why this Men’s Project is one worth shouting about

*Sponsored by Aviva Community Fund

The Fund helps to provide much needed funding for community projects across the UK. That’s why was was so proud to see a local project, the North Belfast Men’s Shed winning funding this year. The North Belfast Men’s Shed provides an amazing safe space for men of all ages to come together to learn new skills, chat and have fun. They say women talk face to face & men talk side to side. The North Belfast’s Men’s Shed gives men the opportunity to make these important new friendships. The men do everything from wood-work to fishing and ballroom dancing! The multiple generational nature of the project means it’s also keeping hard earned skills alive. It’s totally free to attend and it’s open 9am-5pm, 5 days a week!

Their project, the Buddy Bench at North Belfast Men’s Shed initiative was awarded Aviva Community Funding just a few weeks ago. The project will allow the men of the Shed to spend time crafting Buddy Benches that will be donated to local schools. They hope to give a bench to every primary school in North Belfast. The benches are intended to be placed in the playground & a child can sit there if they feel sad or if they need a friend to play with. It’s almost like a little bit of the Men’s Shed community spirit brought to life in the playground!

I was so taken with the amazing men we met – so many of who reminded me of my late grandfather. He was a gardener for Belfast City Council and I know he would have adored going to the Men’s Shed! The lady who runs the project, Geraldine, is an absolute sweetheart. She spends her day running after a massive group of men and hopes it will continue to grow as they are soon moving to even bigger premises!

Have a family member or friend you think that would love the North Belfast Men’s Shed, email Geraldine for more information on:

Belfast Men’s Shed is just one of the over 590 projects and charities that secured funding from the Aviva Community Fund this year. The nationwide initiative, now in its third year, launched in September 2015, called upon passionate residents to submit a project close to their heart to be in with a chance of securing funding ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000.

Over 6,500 groups entered the funding initiative, each galvanising the support of their local community to vote for their entry in four categories: Health & Wellbeing, Skills for Life, Community Support, and Inclusivity.

5.5 million votes were placed this year and the 828 groups with the highest votes were shortlisted as finalists. Awards in the £1k category were decided on by public votes, with winners in the £5k, £10k and £25k categories selected from the finalists by a judging panel. 

If you’d like to find out about other Aviva Community Fund winners and find out who won in your local area, visit this page here.