Men's Shed opens doors on new home thanks to generous mystery donor

The Beehive Centre in Fleetwood
The Beehive Centre in Fleetwood

A Fleetwood charity that offers a helping hand to men who are suffering from loneliness, anxiety and depression has found a new home - thanks to a donation from a generous mystery donor.

Men’s Shed opens its doors at The Beehive on Manor Road today, two years on from its humble beginnings in a Wetherspoons pub.

The building, which closed down in 2014, was purchased for £95,000 by a kind-hearted anonymous donor, who approached group founder Tony O’Neill in May last year following an interview with the BBC.

Tony said: “It was totally overwhelming. It’s all been sorted out for us. He has looked after us and all he wants in return is to see it work. It means the world to us. It means we have finally got a place of our own.

“We’re going to get woodworking machines in there and do some DIY. Every Wednesday we started a veteran’s breakfast at St David’s Church that has gone from strength to strength.

“We’re going to get some computers in there and help people with CVs, and get people from the mental health team to give talks. We’ve got all sorts going on.

“I started this group on the back of too many suicides in and around Fleetwood. Since I started we’ve learned a lot about mental health, but there’s still a massive stigma. A lot of men, if they were sat in the pub with their mates, they’d get told to shut up and man up, but now people are starting to realise it’s OK to not be OK.

“Still some people don’t want to be seen as being weak, but there’s nothing weak about it. It takes a lot of guts to ask for help.

“When I started this group I thought if it saves one person it would have been worth it. I have had eight people say to me so far that if it wasn’t for Men’s Shed, they woudln’t be here. It’s humbling. That’s all I’m in it for.”