Gosport Southern Co-op funeral home teams up with old friends

Colleagues at the Southern Co-op funeral home in Gosport are looking forward to a year of fundraising for The Gosport Shed project, a local charity that provides workshop facilities and a friendly meeting place for older men, five years after Southern Co-op helped to seed fund the project.

Following the success of the initiative in Australia, The Gosport Shed was set up in 2013 with money donated from local businesses including Southern Co-op and St. Vincent College.

L-R Harry Ansell, Claire Cobb, Kyela Trivett and Bill Willetts

In the UK there are more than 400 sheds with over 10,000 members, several of them supported by AgeUK – a UK Men’s Shed Association has also recently been formed. Southern Co-op donated £1000 to a shed project in Alresford last year.

Les Blackburn, Fundraiser and PR officer at The Gosport Shed said: “Our Shed was established in 2013 because many older men find that retirement takes away most of our friends and our sense of purpose, leaving us vulnerable to physical illness and depression. The Gosport Shed provides a new network of friends and a renewed sense of purpose – it’s a good reason to get up in the morning!

“We were delighted when Southern Co-op selected us as their charity partner for 2018-19. We are a growing charity, having gone from 10 men on day one to 160 today, so we hope that we will soon be able to build a larger premises and this money will be so helpful in that effort, as well as helping to set up our new choir and ukulele band!”

Claire Cobb, funeral co-ordinator at Gosport funeral home said: “Every year we are asked by our community department to enter a year-long partnership with a local charity who we think would really benefit with funding from our ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme. Having already helped to fund The Gosport Shed some years ago, we thought it would be great to link up with them again and provide more much-needed funds for their fantastic project. We couldn’t be happier to be working with them and look forward to fundraising over the coming year!”

‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ is Southern Co-op’s community engagement programme. This initiative addresses four key social themes, as identified by a survey of over 4,000 members and colleagues, for promoting: ‘Greener Neighbourhoods’, ‘Healthier Neighbourhoods’, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, and ‘More Inclusive Neighbourhoods’.

Charities and community groups can also apply for cash donations or goods in kind through the ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ scheme, which is funded by the 5p single-use carrier bag levy. For more information on how to apply, please speak to your local store manager, or visit: http://www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/makingadifference/love-your-neighbourhood/.