First anniversary for Magherafelt Network Shed

Network Personnel clients enjoying the first anniversary celebrations.
Network Personnel clients enjoying the first anniversary celebrations.

Network Personnel invited organisations, support groups and clients to help them celebrate the first anniversary of The Network Shed following a very successful year.

The Network Shed, located behind the Network Personnel office on Rainey Street in Magherafelt, first opened in December 2016.

It provides a holistic support service to clients and is an alternative to conventional employability training. The nature of The Network Shed set-up leads to improving the mental health of clients and also breaking down social barriers.

In its first year, The Network Shed has welcomed 865 clients and hosted 104 workshops. It is participant led with workshops and training delivered in a relaxed environment away from the traditional ‘classroom’ setting. Various workshops take place in The Network Shed including Women’s DIY, Men’s Shed, Book Club, Grow Your Own, Art & Crafts and Knit & Natter, as well as many others.

One client, Paul, who has participated in a number of workshops at The Network Shed commented: “I have been attending The Network Shed for some time now and I really like getting to mix with other members in a more relaxed environment. The Shed has allowed me to get out of the classroom and focus on building my practical skills for employment through the Men’s Shed session with Brian. I have completed a lot of projects, including building bird houses, lawn chairs and

recently a yule time log.”

The Network Shed has also been used to facilitate workshops and information sessions held by external support organisations including Ascert, Aware, The Volunteer Centre, Women’s Resource and Development Agency and Action on Hearing Loss. This has provided an opportunity for clients to engage with other organisations and access potential support that is available.

In 2018, Network Personnel hope to expand the activities on offer at The Network Shed so as to allow more clients in different areas to avail of the benefits that so many have experienced in the past year. Currently the company are in the process of developing The Network Shed as an outreach service within the Mid and East Antrim area.

Cathy McGarvey, Network Personnel, said: “We would like to thank all of our clients who have attended throughout the year and also to the organisations we have worked with for their support.

“We are looking forward to continuing the great success of The Shed and offering our clients access to a wider variety of signposting and specialist support.”