A SITE between the grounds of the Clover Centre and the Christendom housing estate in Ferrybank has been secured to house the area’s first Men’s Shed.
On a visit to the site, Frank Kennedy (a member of the New Community Men’s Shed management team on Coffee House Lane) told the Waterford News & Star about his relief and delight in securing such a parcel of land.
“It’s great news,” he said. “It’s taken a while just to get to this point but it’s brilliant to now be in a position to move forward with our new Men’s Shed, which I hope will become a great asset for the wider Ferrybank community.
“Yes, there’s a good bit of work to be done down here over the next few months but the men are there to get it done and they’re more than willing to do it. Kilkenny County Council have told us that they’ll put together the money for a shed and drop it in here; now if we could get a few containers it would sort things out immediately for us.”
Pointing out a small outhouse on the site, Frank added: “There’s a little power substation in there so that’s going to be something we’ll have to look at in terms of it being our potential electricity point and there may well have been a temporary building previously on the site that had a water connection but these are all things that we’ll establish in the next few weeks and months and hopefully get resolved before too long.”
Acknowledging a year with more than a few “fits and starts” having had previous discussions with the Brothers of Charity, Ferrybank GAA and the local Pitch and Putt Club, Frank Kennedy said a “core of eight people” have remained committed to the Men’s Shed cause.
“We’ve stuck at it and it’s great that the eight of us have managed to get things as far as this point and have shown such an interest in seeing this through. And to give Kilkenny County Council its due, they’ve been brilliant and now that we’ve got a site, they’re going to row in with funds and help us get this idea off the ground.”
The cleaning up of the weed-ridden site is, in itself, prime Men’s Shed territory. “It’s a great starting point for us when it comes to getting out and actually doing something together for a worthwhile purpose is really what the Men’s Shed is all about,” Frank stated.
This parcel of land is just a small portion of the vast Clover site which was home to regular athletics and cross country meetings in addition to juvenile soccer until recent years. Work on the clean-up began over the weekend.
“Peter Roche, who is an ex-Clover worker, took it upon himself to go around to all the other (Clover) retirees to get their signature to give us the okay to press ahead here and he gathered 86 signatures, saying that they wanted to see the Men’s Shed on site here so we then approached the still active members who are running the (Social Centre) centre just over there and they came on board too, which was very welcome.”
Frank added: “Ferrybank is a place that has become home to a lot of outsiders, to people who have no family or long-standing connection with the community.
“And it has a lot of people who wouldn’t have come from the blue-collar, skilled background that a lot of the men attending the Waterford Men’s Shed (at the Six Cross Roads) would have. For example, we’ve an accountant and a retired doctor in our group who would bring a different set of skills to what we hope to put in place here. And there’s little to be gained from replicating what’s already in place at the Six Cross Roads, which has proven such a great success since it opened. And when this site came up as a potential runner, we felt it would be great to put this back into community use. We’ve an open space here, we could have raised beds here in due course; it could also become a site which Scout groups could use, for example, we want this to become a true community space. It truly is a blank canvas and we’re thrilled to be here now.”
If you can assist Frank in the clean-up of the site or wish to find our further information about Ferrybank’s Men’s Shed, you can reach him on 083 4721336.