Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed, SDMS, have just been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service – this is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE for individuals.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mr Alastair Macphie visited the beachfront meeting place this morning to share the news with the members. The official announcement was made at midnight in The Gazette. Only 262 groups throughout the United Kingdom received the award today, the King’s birthday.
The objective of the Men’s Shed is to enhance the mental and physical health of men in the community who have time to spare and wish to pass that time together constructively and enjoyably, learning new skills, or passing on their own skills and, in the process, contributing to the general wellbeing of the community.
Mr Macphie said the award nomination, prepared by Jennifer Macdonald in her role as Deputy Lieutenant, included the Shed’s Legs4Africa work and their community projects for and with other organisations, which were, ‘too many to mention’. And he noted the benefits to well-being The Men’s Shed offered to all men.
He added: ”This award is a real compliment for you, for all the work you are doing. Congratulations and well done.”
The King’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.
Representatives of SDMS will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mr Macphie later this year. In addition, two volunteers from the shed will be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Holyrood House in July 2024 with other recipients of this year’s Award.
SDMS Chairman, Bill Allan said: “I am delighted that our members’ achievements have been recognised. It is a tremendous honour for our volunteers after all the hard work they have put in to acquire the property, renovate it by raising over £85,000 in funding, whilst also contributing over four thousand hours of their own hard work to make it fit for purpose.
”In addition, since opening three years ago, the volunteers have worked on a wide range of projects for the benefit of the community and the wider world.
”This shed is unique in Scotland, as it dismantles used prosthetic limbs for Legs4Africa charity. These valuable parts, costing a minimum of £5000 per limb, are shipped to Africa where they are reassembled to fit amputees in several countries.”
The shed, like others in Scotland, also puts great emphasis on recycling bicycles, garden equipment, furniture and discarded wood and metal for their projects.
Mr Allan said this has given the volunteers great satisfaction and pleasure whilst providing comradeship in meeting new colleagues in an environment where they and their families know they are safe, all contributing to the benefit of mental and physical health of elderly people in the community.
He added: ”We would like to express our appreciation to the Lord Lieutenancy for nominating us for this award, and also all local Council and our fellow volunteer groups in Stonehaven who have supported us over the past few years.”
Feature image courtesy of Tom Hannan