MensCraft will be moving to new premises in the centre of Norwich this month, saying goodbye to our current offices on Pitt Street, which we have shared for many years with our friends at the Norwich Men’s Shed.

‘This is a bittersweet moment for us.’ says MensCraft’s Development Manager Tim Allard. ‘Our new premises on the Maddermarket estate are more accessible and comfortable for our staff and for the men we support, but we are sad that we will no longer have that day-to-day connection in a shared building. That said we will continue to work collaboratively with the men in the Norwich Shed; and are keen to develop our work with all the Men’s Sheds across Norfolk.’

The two charities have shared more than just accommodation; our history is intrinsically connected. MensCraft founded the Norwich Mens’ Shed in 2013, one of the first in the country, after hearing about the success of Sheds in Australia. Fittingly, one of the earliest supporters of the Norwich Men’s Shed is Australian-born Tim Ridgley, who continues to be a Trustee of the charity today.

‘MensCraft were the driving force behind the Norwich Men’s Shed, helping us set-up, find premises and funding and got us in the position where we were able to fledge as an independent charity in our own right in 2017’ says Tim Ridgeley. ‘In particular we want to recognise the contribution of MensCraft’s Andy Wood, who was Project Manager in our early years and when we became our own charity, took on the role of Trustee.’

‘A lot has changed in the almost 10 years since we started the Shed, says Andy. ‘At the time there was a relative lack of recognition for projects focusing exclusively on men’s wellbeing. Today though there is more understanding of the impact that charities such as MensCraft and the Norwich Men’s Shed can have on men’s mental and physical health.’

Today the two charities continue to work together, offering complementary support, services and activities for men in Norwich and Norfolk. The Norwich Men’s Shed is now focusing on its role as a community workshop for men to socialise and enjoy and share their interest in woodworking while MensCraft offers a range of projects and programmes supporting men to manage life challenges and their wellbeing. Our new premises will offer the opportunity for doing so through a range of creative activities and an environment in which individuals can thrive.

The Norwich Men’s Shed will be taking over the first-floor space on Pitt Street vacated by MensCraft, enabling the Shed to expand their ground-floor workshop area, offer more bench spaces and thereby grow their membership and income.

Our new offices are in St John’s Alley in Norwich, in a former school master’s house owned by the Maddermarket Theatre Trust.