In the case of the Littlehampton LADS, the phrase ‘cottage industry’ should be ‘shed industry’.
Because the group, officially titled Littlehampton & District Men’s Shed West, have made hundreds of handcrafted wooden gifts from their workshop in Rope Walk over the last three years.
But after sponsorship money dried up, the boys might have to disband unless someone can help pay their annual £3,000 rent.
Founding member Pat Doherty, 68, from Ingram Close, Rustington, said: “If we could just get the weight of this rent off our shoulders, we could make the things we want. We don’t want to turn the group into some kind of sweatshop – these guys are retired.”
Roy Amos, 69, from River Road, is a retired carpenter for the Ministry of Defence. Now he does not have to fix doors damaged by sailors, he is able to pursue his passion: building rocking horses.
A member of the Guild of Rocking Horse Makers, Roy has made 30 in the last 20 years, including one which weighs 22 stone and is the size of a Shetland pony.
He plans to sell his latest creation, designed for small children, at the Rustington Street Fayre on Saturday.
The craftsman said: “Being part of this group has brought me out of myself. I love it; it is one of the best things I have ever done.”
The original Littlehampton group was founded in 2016, based on an alternative for women’s social groups in Australia which has spread worldwide.
Their faction split off and moved to Rope Walk, where they currently have 20 members who meet from 9am to 1pm from Tuesday to Thursday. Among their creations are planters for Rustington in Bloom and suffragette plaques for the Littlehampton Civic Society. They took £600 at Rustington Christmas Fayre last year selling wooden decorations.
To commission the Littlehampton LADS or become a benefactor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.