At the Kingdom Men’s Shed Annual General Meeting, Tom Cunningham was returned as Chairman, Martin McConville as Treasurer and Joseph Donnan as Secretary.
In his Chairman’s Address Tom commented that since our last Annual General Meeting, we have purchased a new polytunnel with help from the DARD Rural Micro Capital Grants Programme. It is now up and functioning, witness the abundance of window boxes etc around the Club, and now we await our first crop of tomatoes.
We also got support from Newry, Mourne and Down Council for tools, ground work and for horticultural advice and advice on health and safety issues. A Southern Health & Social Care Trust Small grant helped us pay room hire and for activities, equipment, insurance, etc. We were able to get outdoor protective clothing with a grant from the Department of Social Development Volunteer Small Grants scheme and this also helped with heating and other electricity bills.
This time last year we were carrying a boiler full of water back and forward across the yard in order to make a cup of tea. This year we have our own hot water system and sink where we can wash our dishes.
We were asked to tidy up the surround at the scoreboard. This we duly did and it is now a fine accompaniment to the new scoreboard. In May Grange Primary School asked us to help with a clean-up of the school/church carpark, during this clean up a large naming stone was found partially hidden in the hedge. This was given a more prominent position and the lettering was repainted. Then in June, St Colman’s Primary School was awarded the Eco Flag for their involvement in environmental issues and again we answered the call and the flagpole was raised and now the flag flies proudly.
On Mondays Claire Convery and then Thomas McStravick helped us with some keep fit work; this has now stopped for the summer but we would hope to have them back again in the Autumn.
I would like to thank Martin McConville for his work as treasurer. That involves looking after the £1 membership collected at each meeting and overseeing the lodgement of monies / cheques from the various awarding agencies. This year Martin looked after our ‘Savings Club’, these were monies paid in towards the Christmas Dinner in the Kilmorey Arms and then towards our overnight trip to Slieve League on the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal. We also collaborated with Terry Ruddy and Men About Town in Newry to organise a day trip and cruise on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. This was a worthy venture and something we should try to continue. We also had Ronan McQuigan Solicitor here on ‘Making a Will’, and other speakers on First Aid and on Budgeting for Seniors.
Of course the one thing that makes life enjoyable is our health. Some of our members have had a challenging time but I hope that the Shed will offer some respite and will continue to offer us all the opportunity to socialise and keep our minds active as the years catch up on us.
Projects agreed to pursue in the coming year include installing a ramp to assist access to the Shed, a possible extension to the Shed, planting potatoes, IT equipment and workshops, more raised beds, a gardening equipment store and attendance at the Irish Men’s Shed Association Celebration Event in Belfast on Saturday 22nd October and more trips.
The Kingdom Men’s Shed supports the improvement of older people in a rural setting by strengthening connections to the local community and increasing opportunities. Kingdom Men’s Shed is a place where men can meet to socialise, learn new skills and hone old ones, share company, have a project to work on etc. It is a place to come together with other men, be yourself, engage at your own pace. It is a dedicated friendly and welcoming meeting place, new members are always welcome and can be assured that as the men have ownership of the project and decide their own programme of events that there is something of interest for everyone. Why not call out any Monday or Wednesday between 11am and 1pm.