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Suffolk sheds shortlisted for national awards

Two outstanding charitable projects in Suffolk are in line for prestigious ‘Shed of the Year’ awards, set to be announced in a ceremony at the House of Lords later this month.

Both finalists are part of the Men’s Sheds network, of which there are more than 1000 around the UK.

Lowestoft Men’s Shed is shortlisted in the category of Shed of the Year category, while Kessingland Men’s Shed sees volunteer Gareth Lloyd nominated for Men’s Shed Volunteer of the Year.

Both hopefuls were nominated by Keith Shiels, from Community Action Suffolk, who works within the community to help Men’s Sheds develop around Suffolk.

Gareth Lloyd was nominated in honour of his stoical attitude to life and community, having encountered a severe injury, leading to life-long disability.

He works tirelessly with the local community via his Men’s Shed role, and has recently made two sensory resonance boards for the Kirkley Family Centre, which allow children with sensory impairment to experience sound through vibration.

He obtained the wood for free so levied no charge on the centre. Gareth built and provided the shelving for the local food bank and has countless other projects.

When Gareth found out that he had been shortlisted for UKMSA Volunteer of the Year, he said: “This is amazing, I am absolutely over the moon to nominated.

“It is a real honour, and I am humbled by the attention.”

He added: “I work for the community and get great satisfaction of knowing I can still make a difference.

“Such recognition is a credit to all at Kessingland Shed and the work of Men’s Sheds nationally in improving people’s lives.”

Meanwhile, it is Lowestoft Men’s Shed which is in line for Shed of the Year.

Trevor Ayers, from the Lowestoft Shed, said: “The news that we had been shortlisted for the award came as a huge surprise.

“This nomination is a tribute to our members who have worked to create a community within ‘The Shed’ and their selfless hard work to combat loneliness and isolation among men and to bring the shed to the place it is today some six and a half years after its humble beginnings.

“It is an honour to be recognised as one of the best and we are so very proud to have been shortlisted.”

The Men’s Shed movement galvanised in 2013 with the formation of the UK Men’s Sheds Association as the first national body in the UK. 

In its short ten years it has seen the number of Sheds in the UK grow to over 1,000 with many more to come. 

Men’s Sheds transform and save lives, improving and supporting communities and provides an opportunity for men to engage with each other. 

James Fletcher, Community Development Officer for Men’s Sheds at Community Action Suffolk, said: “We are enormously proud to see two superb finalists representing Suffolk and are very much looking forward to seeing the results of the award ceremony later this month.”

The awards will be announced on the 23rd May 2023 at the event, hosted by Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson.

For more information about your local Shed go to for more information about UK Men’s Sheds Association visit

Listen below to Keith Shiels, Men’s Sheds Advisor on BBC Radio Suffolk, talking on 22nd May 2023.