A VITAL charity providing a lifeline to isolated men in Stratford remains homeless after the closure of Foundation House.
Men’s Shed is still without a new base two months after a host of charities were forced to move out of their community hub on Masons Road.
Opened in 2018, the hub provided low-cost space to 12 charities, as well as supporting many more through activities for the local community and flexible spaces available for hire.
However, earlier in the year Stratford Town Trust announced that the landlord for Foundation House had given notice of its intention to exercise a break clause in the lease in order that the land could be developed as part of the Canal Quarter Redevelopment Zone. Despite attempts to negotiate an extension of the lease to provide enough time to find alternative premises in consultation with the current user groups and stakeholders, this wasn’t granted. All the charities were given until June to move out.
Stratford Town Trust pledged to help find them new homes.
Foundation House hosted Fun Palaces, regular Community Cafes, Winter Warm Hubs, a successful Repair Cafe in partnership with Net Zero Stratford as well as weekly ESOL classes and NHS diabetic eye screening.
And while the other 11 charities were able to find a new base thanks to Stratford District Council offering them the use of Venture House, Men’s Shed was unable to take up the offer due to its ‘niche’ requirements.
The charity operated from Foundation House for six years and the group had believed they would be there until June 2027.
Men’s Shed prevents older men from becoming socially excluded and gives them the opportunity to be creative and take part in social and recreational activities of their choice.
Chairman Barry Thorne said Men’s Shed was still in storage and again appealed to the public to help them find a new meeting room and workshop space.
Barry continued: “We are appealing to anyone who can help us secure a suitable and affordable space for our charity. We need a space that can accommodate our members, workshop, equipment, and a place to continue to integrate into the wider community, using our skills and activities. We would like to stay in the Stratford area, as this is where most of our members and beneficiaries live and work.”
Anyone who can help Men’s Shed find a new home should contact the charity on 07939 085720,or email [email protected].
Other charities based at Foundation House included Second Thoughts Drama Group, Escape Arts, Safeline, Shakespeare Lions, Stratford Army Cadets and Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action.
Town trust chief executive Sara Aspley assured the Observer they were doing all they could to assist Men’s Shed.
She explained the trust had paid for the relocation of their shipping container and were currently in talks with the a local charity to see if they could be accommodated there.