New development officer for Borders men’s sheds network

From left: Paul Bertram, Galashiels Men's Shed; Ross Hall, men's shed development officer; and Gordon Brown, Volunteer Centre Borders executive officer.
From left: Paul Bertram, Galashiels Men's Shed; Ross Hall, men's shed development officer; and Gordon Brown, Volunteer Centre Borders executive officer.

With men’s sheds now commonplace and gaining popularity throughout the Borders, a new development officer has been appointed to promote the movement.

Former police officer Ross Hall, from Galashiels, has already stepped into his new role, and is looking forward to lending his support to local ‘shedders’, as members of such facilities are known.

He said: “The many benefits of men’s sheds have been well documented, and it is great to see so many here in the Borders.

“I am looking forward to supporting the existing sheds and developing some new ones.”

During his 30 years of working for Lothian and Borders Police, Ross had a wide-range of roles and after retiring in 2014 went to work for Apex Scotland, a charity which aims to reduce re-offending, tackle deprivation and make communities safer.

A great rugby supporter, Ross has served on Gala RFC and Gala Red Triangle committees and was president of the former for two years.

The post will be housed at Volunteer Centre Borders and funded by Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, Eildon Housing Association, Scottish Borders Housing Association, Berwickshire Housing Association and Waverley Housing.

Ross will work directly with existing and developing sheds, communities, and interested organisations locally and nationally to further promote and grow the men’s shed movement across the Borders.

Scottish Borders Council’s equalities and diversity champion, councillor John Greenwell, said: “Ross has great experience which will prove hugely beneficial to Volunteer Centre Borders and its efforts to expand the men’s sheds network.

“Men’s sheds have proved successful in helping to reduce loneliness, isolation and providing a fun environment for men to enjoy together.”

Men’s sheds are places where men, and occasionally women, come together to pursue hobbies and pastimes, share skills and experiences, socialise or undertake projects for themselves or their communities.

Research has shown that those involved live healthier, happier and more contented lives.

Dr Tim Patterson, joint director of public health at NHS Borders, told us: “There is growing evidence of the benefits men’s sheds have on health and wellbeing.

“For example, there is the physical fitness associated with just going to, being active and being in a shed. The combatting of social isolation and loneliness and the fact many men share their own health issues whilst in the shed can also encourage them to seek the help they might need.”

Sheds are now in operation in Galashiels, Jedburgh, Hawick, Coldstream and Eyemouth with a number of others currently under development in communities across the region.

Selkirk, for instance, has recently started a community shed – where ladies are made just as welcome.

In addition, a Scottish Borders men’s shed network has been established giving those involved the opportunity to share information, resources and experiences and to plan and hold joint events.

For more information on the Scottish Borders men’s shed network contact Ross on r.hall@vcborders.org.uk or call 01896 754312.