A gardening-focused group has launched in Thetford – the only catch is you have to be a man to be a member.
The Grow Shed is one of two ‘men’s shed’ ventures in Thetford run by the Keystone Development Trust as part of the UK Men’s Shed Association movement.
A men’s shed is a safe and supportive space where men can pursue practical hobbies while socialising with other like-minded men.
The Bike Shed, Keystone’s first shed project, opened its doors in October last year and, soon after, the charity received some allotments in Mundford Road as a donation from Thetford Town Council.
This was to become the site of the Grow Shed, a community garden maintained by men in the community for other men in the community to enjoy.
A spokeswoman for Keystone said when they first took over the allotments they were a ‘wilderness of old plants and debris’ but, after more than a week of weeding and clearing, a group of hard-working young people from the Prince’s Trust had transformed them into a ‘fresh and fertile blank canvas’.
Now with empty plant beds, a bag full of seeds, a fully-stocked shed and big plans, the Grow Shed is ready to get planting and is keen to welcome new members.
As a Growing Buddy, someone who volunteers to support older and vulnerable residents grow food and engage in growing and gardening activities, Brian Farrell was invited to attend the inaugural Grow Shed meeting last month.
He is also chairman of the Thetford Garden and Allotment Club so was on hand to offer useful tips on what to grow and when.
‘Pleasantly surprised’ by what had been achieved, he said: “The enthusiasm of the organisers is infectious and I have no doubt that they are determined to make the project a success. Anyone joining them will be made most welcome and will quickly recognise the healthy benefits of gardening.”
Shed member Kerry Pliler said: “The Grow Shed is about more than just planting seeds, it’s a place where guys can go and do some gardening, some DIY or just hangout and socialise.
“It’s about getting outside and doing projects with other people, everyone can use a project to keep them occupied.”
The Grow Shed is open from 11am-1pm on Wednesdays and all men are welcome to visit for a ‘cuppa and a chat’ using the Station Lane entrance.
If gardening is not your thing, Thetford’s Bike Shed focuses on all things bike, from repairs and maintenance to recycling, and meets in Exeter Way (opposite the community centre) from 1pm-4.30pm on Tuesdays.
To find out more about men’s sheds visit www.menssheds.org.uk.