Members of Midsomer Norton Men’s Shed have hand built and delivered some very colourful additions to the playground at Hemington Primary School to help combat loneliness and bullying amongst children.

The multi-coloured Buddy Bench is part of a scheme to avoid schoolchildren suffering loneliness and bullying, so that any child feeling vulnerable simply sits on the bench, and other children are invited to engage and befriend them. This not only helps the vulnerable child, but also teaches the other pupils social responsibility.

The Men’s Shed has been supported in this project by kind donations of material by local suppliers, Charltons Timber Store and Protek Wood Stain.

Parent, Julie Miller, whose family’s generous donation allowed the benches to be made, said: “This is a fitting memorial in memory of my father who fell in love with the school, when he came to visit with my daughter.”

Hemington School Headteacher, Naomi de Chastelain, said: “We are delighted to be the first school in the area to benefit from this collaboration between Men’s Shed Midsomer Norton and local suppliers, Charltons Timber Store and Protek Woodstain. We hope that other schools in the area will adopt this scheme.”

Men’s Shed now has a tremendous workshop and social area at Farrington’s Farm Shop, thanks to the generosity of the facilities provided at the farm by Andy and Tish Jeffery. With these facilities, plus the support of Charltons and Protek, the Men’s Shed aims to roll out the ‘Buddy Bench’ scheme to other schools in the area.

Membership of ‘The Shed’, an initiative set up to help local people meet up and learn a new craft, is open to anyone over the age of eighteen, and is for people of any skill or ability. The Shed is open every Tuesday and Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and with membership increasing rapidly, it may open on other days soon. Women are very welcome to join, and if there is sufficient demand, a ‘women’s only’ session may be started.

Current Shed Chairman, Steve Swift, said: “We greatly appreciated all the help given by the local community, suppliers and for all of those members of the general public who have so generously donated tools and workshop equipment. Without this support, Midsomer Norton Men’s Shed simply would not exist.

“If anyone out there wants to give ‘shedding’ a try, please come along – you will find us behind the Farrington Farm Shop Café. We are a friendly bunch, eager to share a cup of tea and a biscuit!”