Men's sheds issue plea for vital funds after €600k Covid losses

More than 80% of the country's men's sheds have had their fundraising affected by Covid-19 - placing their future at risk.
Men's sheds issue plea for vital funds after €600k Covid losses
The Men's Shed in Killarney. File photo

More than 80% of the country's men's sheds have had their fundraising affected by Covid-19 - placing their future at risk.

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA), the representative body for more than 460 men’s sheds in Ireland, is launching a fundraising campaign after a survey of members showed a cumulative loss of almost €600,000 since the pandemic began.

It comes as a survey of more than 2,000 charities here found that more than half fear they may be unable to continue providing a services for more than six months because of the impact of Covid-19, and among that group almost 10% fear shutting down within a month.

A total of 2,223 responses were submitted for that survey, which was conducted by the Charities Regulator.

It found that 55% of respondents said their charity’s finances were uncertain or in difficulty, while 54% of respondents were concerned that their charity may be unable to continue providing services for more than six months.

"Within this group, approximately 9% of respondents were concerned that they may not be able to provide services for more than one month, 28% for more than three months and 17% for more than six months," it said.

Another finding was that 52% of respondents had reached out to other charities to discuss plans to deal with the current situation.

The Charities Regulator report showed more than 37% of respondents said their fundraising has been postponed until later in the year and more than a quarter had seen fundraising cancelled.

The survey also found many charities are using technology to continue operating, with 73% of respondents stating their charity trustees continued to communicate via email or by meeting remotely. Others stressed the continued need for good governance.

With so many charities under pressure, the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) found that 82% of its own members are worried about their financial security, with the average shed losing €1,286 from March 13 to May 8.

That equates to a combined €591,560 for the 460 sheds on the island of Ireland.

It has prompted the ‘Save Our Sheds’ (SOS) fund, with any money raised to be distributed to sheds affected by the crisis.

Not only were the sheds closed as part of the restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, but they could face another three months of closure.

The CEO of IMSA, Barry Sheridan, said: “It is very concerning to see that the majority of men’s sheds are being financially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. It is hard to find a sector, group or individual that has not been affected.

“We have always been committed to supporting our sheds, that is why we are launching our ‘Save Our Sheds’ (SOS) fund. We are aiming to raise enough funds so that we can provide support to the sheds affected by Covid-19, and to keep as many sheds open as possible."

Val Browne, who joined the Ballina Men’s Shed after his wife died, said:

The shed saved my life, that’s the truth of it. After my wife died, I was at a loss.

“A friend brought me to the local men’s shed, and to say I haven’t looked back is an understatement. The shed has given me a new lease of life. I’m there every day, and I’m looking forward to going back soon”.

People can help support the SOS Fund by donating online at www.menssheds.ie/sos, or by texting ‘SHED’ to 50300.

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