The two-storey men's shed is proposed for an area within the grounds of St Kieran's Community Centre (pictured).

New two-storey men’s shed building proposed for Athlone

Plans for a two-storey men's shed in Athlone have been lodged with Westmeath County Council.

Coosan Men's Shed is seeking planning approval to construct a new two-storey community social and learning centre and all associated site works at St Kieran's Community Centre, Tormey Villas, Athlone.

The project, for a site spanning 0.22 hectare of land is to cover some 436 square metres, spread evenly over two floors. The land is owned by St Kieran's Community Centre, which has provided a letter of permission for the application.

The proposed site for the project is to the north of the existing community centre and childcare facility and to the rear of houses at Ashdale.

Westmeath County Council is due to make a decision on the application by August 2.

A previous application for a men's shed, also within St Kieran's Community Centre, was lodged in 2022 but deemed withdrawn by the local authority, when a request for further information was not met by the applicant within the statutory time frame.

Many local businesses and organisations provided letters of support for the project as part of the planning application.

Retreat Nursing Home believes that the Men's Shed will “help in providing a positive approach to men's social, physical, mental and spiritual health.”

Grow Mental Health endorsed the project and envisage that it “could link with the new Men's Shed for the purpose of providing professional mental health support to its membership should it be required at any time.”

The Irish Wheelchair Association believe that “it would be very beneficial” if Coosan's Men's Shed had their own premises, and also advocate for it to be purpose built “in order to accommodate persons with disabilities who may wish to join their group.”

RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) highlighted that there is “a desperate need for a proper Men's Shed in the Athlone area, to help men who have retired, struggling with mental health issues or just want somewhere to go to utilise their skills or learn new ones.”

Jazz Pharmaceuticals Ireland Limited endorsed the project, stating that they recognised that, currently, only limited numbers could join the Men's Shed due to their small premises but that a new, larger premises would “allow them to help the wider community to an even greater extent.”

The HSE'S Health Promotion and Improvement Services, Health and Wellbeing division believes that the Men's Shed will “provide a positive, holistic approach to men's health in Athlone.”

An Garda Síochána in Athlone asserted that “the Men's Shed are proactive and are constantly trying to improve their services to this community. Any assistance given to Athlone Men's Shed will be much appreciated and will bring great value to this area.”

Finally, the Athlone Family Resource Centre believes that there is “a gap in community groups for men in Athlone” that the new Coosan Men's Shed could fill.