Barnsley-based loneliness project boosted by DVLP funding

24 October 2016

A Barnsley-based project that aims to reduce loneliness amongst men has been boosted thanks to funding from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership.

Barnsley Men’s Shed, a woodworking workshop designed to bring together men over 35, has received a £2,000 cash injection to help them run a new project in the Dearne Valley area. 

Based in the town centre, Barnsley Men’s Shed was established last year by community interest company Inclusion in Action and their new project, ‘Understanding Living Wood’, will encourage men to work together to learn about wood and understand more about its role within the natural environment.

Participants, known as ‘shedders’, will be guided by a living wood expert and the project will involve visits to woodlands in the Dearne Valley. Armed with their new knowledge, the shedders will then produce a series of factsheets to help others understand more about nature.

Phil Jackson, a director at Inclusion in Action, said: “Loneliness is not something that people like to talk about or admit to, especially men, but coming together at the workshops allows them to share their experiences and learn new skills together.

“We have shedders who have lost wives, and also those who simply need to get out of the house, and everyone is really looking forward to getting out into the woods as part of this new project.  

“The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership has been nothing but helpful throughout the whole funding process and we’re really grateful to them for the support.”

The Understanding Living Wood project has been awarded £2,000 as part of a wider community-focused initiative from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP), which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Other projects given grants include a ‘Brassed Off’ themed poetry scheme designed to engage young people in Grimethorpe with their local history, which is being led by the Hear My Voice project. Also, an initiative delivered by Faceless Arts and local artist James Brunt will involve creative workshops on green spaces across the Dearne Valley to encourage people to utilise the outdoors.  

All funded projects are required to meet the aims and objectives of the DVLP, which are to protect, preserve and enhance the local area as well as increasing community use and engagement. A total of £50,000 has been ring-fenced for the grants and almost £8000 has been invested so far.

Sally Gawthorpe, community officer at the DVLP, said: “All of the projects we have granted funding to are worthy recipients, but the Men’s Shed project really stands out in the way it aims to use the natural environment to help tackle social issues.

“Much of our work at the DVLP is around empowering the Dearne Valley community to make the most of the area they live in, so we’re really pleased to be supporting these groups in their work.”

The ‘Understanding Living Wood’ project is due to begin in the next few weeks. Anyone interested in taking part can contact Phil on

Community groups are still able to apply for grants of between £500 and £2,000 for projects that meet the aims and objectives of the DVLP. Please contact further details.


Notes to editor

Attached images show Sally Gawthorpe, community officer at the DVLP, and Phil Jackson, founder of Barnsley Men’s Shed.

For more information about the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, contact Sally Gawthorpe on 01226 772131or

The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP) is a five-year scheme, running until June 2019 focusing on the historic buildings and landscapes of the Dearne Valley, working with the local communities to protect, preserve and enhance the area. The DVLP is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of almost £1.8m. For more information visit

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery @HLFYandH

The lead partner of the DVLP is Barnsley Council with a partnership that includes Rotherham and Doncaster Councils, the RSPB, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Garganey Trust and Groundwork South Yorkshire. The DVLP is based at Elsecar Heritage Centre.

Additional media contact: Mary Ferguson on 01226 766900 or at

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Fore more information, please visit

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