Winner: New Ross Allotments and Men’s Shed, Co Wexford
New Ross Allotments is a project, which was initiated in 2011, to combat isolation, improve health and wellbeing, and increase the self worth and motivation of low income, unemployed and disadvantaged communities. It is a County Council led project with strong input from the New Ross Allotment Group. This group is made up entirely of allotment holders who articulate their collective view and who work to ensure that the allotment programme is a success.
The Men’s Shed Project is based on the same site. This is a Community based, non commercial organisation which is open to all men who wish to work together whilst enjoying each other’s company. The motto is “Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder”. This is an organised group which takes great pride in its work and is made up of men from various socio-economic backgrounds.
What impressed the judges in this instance was the impact this excellent community health initiative has made on so many people in the community. This is not just about benefiting a narrow cohort, it involves all age groups throughout the community in healthy activity for both body and mind. This was demonstrated on the day by really wonderful presentations and observations by the people involved. The project has the support of the council and a wide range of agencies and voluntary organisations. The link between the tandem activities of the men’s shed and the allotments makes the project a place for the whole family.