North East Connected

A Place for Men in Middlesbrough

ABM Men's ShedAgeing Better Middlesbrough, Groundwork North East and Cumbria and Marks & Spencer staff all took action together on Tuesday, July 19 to start clearing an overgrown community allotment at Berwick Hills ready for planting.

Five staff members from Middlesbrough branch of Marks & Spencer contributed an afternoon of hard work alongside staff and volunteers from Ageing Better Middlesbrough, a Big Lottery-funded programme and participants of Groundwork’s HEAL Project, funded through Public Health Middlesbrough.

It was the hottest day of the year, which makes the commitment and effort of everyone involved all the more remarkable.

The site has been well resourced and used in the past, but has fallen into disuse recently due to no activities taking place there.

Berwick Hills allotments back onto the Local Nature Reserve, so we were happy to re-home two newts and a frog, but were a little less pleased to find a wasp’s nest.

The next phase of the project, which was initiated after participants met at a Men’s Health training event provided by Middlesbrough Council’s Public Health unit will work towards establishing a ‘Men’s Shed’ on the site.

Health Improvement Specialist Richie Andrew said: “It is great to see the Men’s Shed project and partnership work that has come as a result of the links forged through the men’s health training.

“I am massively enthused to see this work which is just fantastic.”

Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s Community Action Officer, John Atkinson said: “This was a fantastic first step on the path to establishing a Men’s Shed project in Middlesbrough.

“I want to thank the staff at Marks and Spencer Middlesbrough, Groundwork North East and Cumbria and the volunteers who helped clear the ground ready for planting.

“It was the hottest day of the year but that did not affect the work people put in to clear the beds.

“The work we have started will help bring the allotment back into use and will provide opportunities for men to meet every week and make a practical contribution to the local community.”

The project will look to invite other groups looking for opportunities to grow food or to use gardening as an affordable alternative to the gym to get involved.

Sarah Ransome, Senior Project Officer at Groundwork North East and Cumbria, said: “We are so pleased we could help out by hosting this action day on our plot at Berwick Hills.

“The site is the ideal location for a Men’s Shed and we are looking forward to working in partnership with Ageing Better Middlesbrough and other organisations to get this new project funded and off the ground.”

If you are a man over fifty and looking for something practical to do, please give John a call on 07954 301364 or visit the website at

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