A COMMUNITY group has won hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding to help with their projects over the next few years.

The Essex Shed Network has been awarded £299,277 for the next three years from the Reaching Communities England Big Lottery Fund.

This will allow the group to continue to provide ‘Shed’ networks with support and advice as well as facilitating development of new sheds across the county.

A spokesman for the network said: “Looking ahead to the next three years the Essex Shed Network remains dedicated to helping as many communities as possible to have an accessible Shed; a place where men can talk shoulder to shoulder and know they are not alone in whatever they are going through.”

Director of Maldon CVS Sarah Troop-Laskar said: “Without a doubt this exciting news means our partnership can now focus on growing the network of Sheds across the county.

“We are looking to take on more staff, offer more training to Shedders, organise more events to give Sheds a chance to network, share knowledge and skill.

“This will really fulfil the potential that the Essex Shed Network has shown over the last three years.”

CEO of Uttlesford CVS Clive Emmett added: “We are delighted and proud that the Essex Shed Network has been recognised by the Big Lottery Fund for its value in reducing loneliness and isolation amongst the vulnerable members of our communities, most notably men.

“The national nottery funding gives us another three years to build on our successes so far and, importantly, to help build more Sheds.”

Funding is currently provided by the Essex Community Foundation.

It has helped open ten Sheds, host five networking events, train more than 20 ‘Shedders’ and involved more than 50 volunteers in various projects.

There are still nine Sheds in development.

The current funding will come to an end in March 2019.