Salt of the Earth is a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and the Darlington and Stockton Times to celebrate acts of kindness across our communities. For the latest feature highlighting the impact of good deeds in the county, Alexa Fox pays a visit to the Northallerton Men’s Shed.

AN initiative that promotes emotional and physical well-being in men has overcome obstacles to spread positivity in the community.

Northallerton Men’s Shed is a volunteer-run enterprise that provides men with a workshop to socialise in and tools to work on whatever creative pursuit they choose.

It was founded in 2019 by Dave Puttock who was inspired by a Men’s Shed scheme he saw on a visit to Australia to see his son.

Determined to set up something similar back home in Northallerton, Dave set about applying for funding and searching for a suitable premises.

Empty classrooms at the Allertonshire School initially provided an ideal base but the workshop was sadly targeted by burglars and vandals in June this year.

The school was only ever going to be a temporary base until pupils returned so, undeterred, Dave set about looking for another venue.

After an alternative option fell through, former furniture storage rooms at Northallerton Auction Mart were identified and Men’s Shed members are currently busy completely refurbishing the new workshops, installing insulation, lighting and other essential elements.

This summer, Covid-19 and the vandalism to the school workshops have put paid to the regular sessions running on selected weekdays, but Dave is hopeful that the new premises will be up and running after October and will be large enough to host Covid-safe sessions.

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In its relatively short time, the group has grown to 40-members attending across two days and Dave said they are also considering running ladies days at the workshop in the future if there is enough interest.

He said: “I think the Men’s Shed is something that is needed in communities. There are lots of groups out there for women, Knit and Knatter, the WI and things like that, but not so much for men.

“It can be a really hard time for men when they retire from work, losing that social aspect and daily purpose, some of them just fall off a cliff edge.

“This is place they can come to and socialise and work with the tools on whatever it this they want to do.

“We have some ‘big boy’s toys’ that you might not be able to justify having at home, but they’re here for our members.

“We have a couple who like to do art and there’s also some with an interest in computers.

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“Some might just come and have a cup of coffee for a couple of hours and they’ve enjoyed it and that’s great.”

Member and trustee Larry Ward added: “We’ve hosted cookery lessons and learning healthy recipes things like that, because sometimes if men lose their wives they might just go on to beans and chips but we want to help promote a healthy lifestyle.”

David Rose from Catterick is a regular attendee and credits Northallerton Men’s Shed with helping him to recover from a stroke.

He said: “It is socially a good thing, getting better after a crisis, it is doing what you can with your skills and enjoying it. The thing is, we have all had a life working and then suddenly you stop work and you are separated from all the people you knew.

“I had a stroke three and a half-years-ago but I am now getting back to doing what I used to do.”

  • The Northallerton Men’s Shed is always open to new members, email Dave at
  • Do you know someone who is going the extra mile in their community? Get involved and nominate them to feature in the Salt of The Earth movement by email at