By Áilín Quinlan
MEN are doing it for themselves in the remote West Cork community of Kealkil with the opening of a new Men’s Shed.
The Shed, which opened initially as a ‘social space’ behind the Kealkil Charity Shop in October, has initially opened with a group of 10 men, ranging in age from 20 years to 50 years of age.
However, if the new Men’s Shed founder, Mark Gaffney, has anything to do with it, this small group which started off with some simple tea and chat sessions, along with a jobs club, will gradually expand into a significant community enterprise.
Some of the members belonged to the former Bantry Men’s Shed, which dis-banded a few months ago after the group was unable to find a suitable premises.
The Kealkil enterprise will be run as as younger ‘Shed’, says Gaffney, who adds that organisers are looking for young men aged 18 and upwards to join up with them in their new premises.
‘We will initially open it as a social space at Kealkil Charity Shop – it’s opposite the old creamery,’ he explained. The shed will run every Friday from 10am to 1pm initially, but the group hopes to extend its hours eventually.
‘We also hope it will be a social club with a bit of a jobs club for younger members – helping them with putting together CVs, or displaying job vacancy notices,’ said Mark, who is well known in Dunmanway for his work in nurturing the local boxing club and is now working with West Cork Development Partnership as a development officer.
‘I eventually hope to engage everyone locally, because it will be a community space.
‘We want to get some equipment in place eventually, and make some benches for the community, as well as some birdhouses for the local park,’ he said, adding that he hopes the initiative will eventually become ‘very much a community out-reach programme.’
A pool table is being installed, and it’s hoped to acquire a polytunnel shortly to get some gardening done.