Southminster Men’s Shed becomes first in England to be located at a rail station

Wednesday, 23 March 2022
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Members of the Southminster Railway Shed at Southminster station
Above: Members of the Southminster Railway Shed at Southminster station. Credit: Maldon & District CVS

Southminster rail station has a new role in helping to tackle loneliness and isolation as it becomes home to the first Men’s Shed in England to be located at a railway station.

The new group has been set up by the Maldon and District Community Voluntary Service in partnership with the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

The Southminster Railway Shed volunteers are currently looking for new members and are busy clearing, tidying and setting up the Shed – which is actually part of the old station building - to be as usable and welcoming as possible.

Together they have been clearing and tidying the garden areas and plan to install compost bins and more flower planters to brighten the platform.

Men’s Sheds aim to bring people together, tackling loneliness and isolation and improving men’s health and wellbeing through providing a community space where they can meet new people, talk with others and get involved in creative projects.

Robert Adams, is a member of the Shed and also volunteers at the station as part of Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative, which sees people working with the train operator to improve their local rail stations in line with the community’s needs and aspirations.

He commented, “Creating a Men's Shed at Southminster Station has been a seven-year mission, but well worth the wait. It is especially exciting to realise that the Shed based on the station platform is the first of its kind in England.

“It’s great to be with chaps that enjoy the shoulder-to-shoulder camaraderie, whether it be constructing a garden planter together or sitting quietly enjoying the banter whilst devouring a chocolate biscuit washed down with a cup of tea."

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, “I’m delighted to see the Men’s Shed now up and running at Southminster station and we are looking forward to working with them.

“We work with all sorts of community partners – including other Men’s Sheds in the county – to help our communities thrive and we are very grateful for their support and enthusiasm.”

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, commented, “This exciting first for a Men’s Shed – being located on a railway platform – puts Southminster station at the heart of its community, playing an important role in health and wellbeing and helping to tackle isolation.

“This project is an excellent addition to the many other fantastic community rail projects that are in progress right across our network and I wish them every success.”

Sarah Troop, Director of the Maldon and District Community Voluntary Service, said, “Men’s sheds come in all shapes and sizes and it is great to be able to open the first on a station platform, it has great potential to be a community hub and due to its location on the train line will be easily accessible to men across the rural Dengie peninsula. We look forward to seeing it grow.”

People can apply to become part of the Southminster Railway Shed by contacting Matt Hume on [email protected] or 07935 216808.

Handing over the keys to the new Southminster Railway Shed at Southminster station
Above: Handing over the keys to the new Southminster Railway Shed at Southminster station. Left to right: Sarah Troop, Director, Maldon & District CVS, Bob Adams, Shed member and Station Adopter, and Alan Whyld, Assistant Customer Service Manager - Greater Anglia. Credit: Maldon & District CVS