The John Good Group’s Grants for Good Fund has given £5,000 to Men in Sheds Hull, a charity working to reduce social isolation for older men, thanks to an employee vote.
The growing charity beat over 400 entries to be shortlisted in the top five, before capturing the hearts of John Good Group employees to attract the most votes.
Men in Sheds Hull aims to avoid detrimental health impacts of social isolation on older men by providing a safe and inclusive space for members to come together to undertake woodworking projects, offering social interaction and a sense of purpose in the community. As well as selling the products they create, the group regularly help other community organisations in the city, a recent project seeing them build garden furniture for a local community garden.
The charity was started in 2014 by Barry Cooper, a retired chef from Hull who had suffered from multiple strokes, after he saw a documentary on TV about a project called Men in Sheds in Australia. After struggling through the pandemic, they recovered well, increasing their services, updating their board of trustees, and employing a new manager – Nick Todd. As result of their success, they have recently secured a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund that will help keep their doors open for the next three years.
However, the services of the shed are in extremely high demand. Currently they are open four days a week with 46 active members, and 30 people on their waiting list. Equipment also regularly becomes worn and needs to be replaced or serviced, and there are ongoing costs for supplies such as wood, glue, screws and other equipment. Looking for help with these costs, they applied to Grants for Good.
Donna Jackson, a Trustee of the charity, said: “We are so honoured to receive this funding and it’s really touching that so many of the John Good Group employees voted for us and made us this round’s winners. It will make such a difference to our members and volunteers. Our members are made up of people from all walks of life but with one thing in common, the shed. Some members are recently bereaved, others retired, many with physical and mental health issues. After the pandemic and its affects, there is now huge demand in the city of people who have and still do feel isolated and vulnerable.”
Grants for Good is a charitable fund from the John Good Group that grants £60,000 annually to small community groups, charities or social enterprises that have a positive impact on people or planet. It is just one of the many CSR initiatives managed for the Group by the Matthew Good Foundation, whose mission is to amplify small charitable causes doing high-impact work that is often unseen and underfunded.
Every quarter, the fund receives around 400 applications to receive a share of £15,000, with just five making the shortlist. John Good Group employees then vote on the final five to decide which organisations get the biggest share, with the winner of the employee’s vote receiving £5,000.