Construction of a Men’s Shed project in the north-east is set to begin after the lease for the project was signed.
The committee of the Aboyne and District Men’s Shed announced the initiative has been awarded a “major” funding boost from the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund.
The group has now raised around £250,000 towards the project.
The money will be used to help build a serviced wind and water-tight two-storey building which the committee say will be an asset to be used by the entire community of Aboyne.
The shed will be constructed on the Aboyne Castle Estate, which has supported the organisation through a favourable lease agreement.
Committee member Dave Marshall said: “The project represents a major new social development for Aboyne.
“The facility will offer opportunities for local people, as groups or individuals, to become involved in a range of practical activities, projects or events.
“In opening access to the wider community, the building – while providing workshop space for Men’s Shed times – will also be available for scheduled access by other groups. Accordingly, the building will operate under the title of the Aboyne and Mid-Deeside Community Shed.
“While some way from operating we will be interested in resurrecting ideas for what is required for shed facilities, workshop equipment and so on and where help to finalise the project will be required.”
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The shed will be located in the old quarry off Ballater Road and adjacent to the Aboyne Games Shed.
The committee is in the process of arranging a build schedule with contractors, but Mr Marshall said the group would require some assistance with funding and building the project.
He said: “Completion will require fit out of the upper floor social area, landscaping and paving.
“This part of the project is only partially funded and is an area where we know we will need help.”
The concept of Men’s Sheds began in Australia as a place for men to “converse, connect and create” in a fun environment.
It allows them to practise skills and lead active lives while enjoying the company of others. Their impact on a number of issues, including mental health, loneliness and isolation, has also been praised.