Trevor Branson, David Jeffers, Geoff Dawson, Steve Ellis and Mick KellyA Gateshead recycling project, which provides volunteers with training opportunities to improve their employability, teamed up with Gateshead Council to deliver a men’s health day as part of Volunteer’s Month.

Groundwork North East & Cumbria’s gwk woodshed, based at the social enterprise’s Whickham Highway horticultural nursery, ran the day of healthy events to reward the hard work of its volunteers.

The woodshed works with partner organisations to support the long-term unemployed, young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to gain confidence, skills and qualifications by offering training and volunteering opportunities in its workshop and store, which sells handcrafted upcycled items, and bespoke furniture, along with a range of handcrafted products and reclaimed materials.

The volunteers had the option to spend their morning practising their woodworking and gardening skills, or orienteering in Watergate Park, following which they were treated to a healthy buffet lunch and presentation by Live Well Gateshead.

The presentation focussed on ways to avoid preventable health problems by making healthier lifestyle choices like choosing to walk or cycle somewhere and choosing fruit over other, less healthy snacks.

Geoff Dawson, Nursery Enterprise Manager for Groundwork North East & Cumbria, said: “It’s important to Groundwork that we show our volunteers how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication, and Volunteers’ Month is a chance to do just that.

“We’ve been up and running for just over a year now, and it wouldn’t have been such as success without the input of our volunteers. They are the nails that hold gwk woodshed together.

“I hope the guys had a fantastic day and will take away some of the information and advice from the presentation by Live Well. I, for one, was astounded by some of the statistics that came from it.

“Through our work with volunteers, some of whom come from the most deprived areas in and around Gateshead, we’ve identified that there is a need to encourage local people to consider healthier lifestyle choices

“This is something we’re working towards and hope to have regular ‘shed and health’ workshops up and running very soon.”

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead Council, said: “Making a few simple changes to the way we live our lives, can result in big improvements to our health. Events such as this are therefore important because they highlight some of the simple changes that everyone can make to help boost their health.

“For the volunteers, being actively involved is a great way to improve their sense of well-being and we recognise the importance of this for overall health. The additional healthy living messages from the Live Well Gateshead team should help ensure that every volunteer is well informed and raring to go!”