THE chairman of a group which helps men gather and make new friends has said he is optimistic after securing a permanent new home.

The Burnham and Highbridge Men’s Shed Group has moved into new premises, at the Morland Hall in Highbridge, and members worked tirelessly to prepare the venue for an official opening ceremony.

The deputy mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Cllr Peter Burridge Clayton, was on hand to open the new premises on Tuesday, July 4.

Tony Cradock, chairman of the Burnham and Highbridge Men’s Shed Group, said: “The whole process started in February when a lovely lady from SDC, Jaqui Strong, put together a meeting for all of the men who want to be involved in the group to see what could be done to get us a more permanent venue.

“Since the meeting we have now found a permanent spot to run the group from at Highbridge’s Morland Hall.

“We have had a lot of men who have shown interest in joining the group and we hope that when we open more and more men will come and join the group.”

Once fully refurbished, the group’s new home will boast a quiet room, cafeteria and an annex, with dedicated sections for carpentry and metal work.

Mr Cradock added: “We wanted to make the new centre as comfortable and workable as possible and so we have been working really hard to make this an environment that men feel they can work in and make friends.

“We decided to add a portacabin to the side of the building which we will then turn into a cafeteria so members can get teas, coffees and light snacks.

“The Portacabin in total will cost us around £3,500 in total.”

And it is onwards and upwards for the group, Mr Cradock said.

“I have found that unlike women, men communicate best when they are shoulder to shoulder rather than face to face so setting up a place where men can do something practical and work towards something while making some new friends is what we wanted,” he added.

The group will meet each Tuesday and Thursday from 8.45am to 1.45pm and from 1.45pm to 4.45pm to coincide with nearby bus services.