independent

Monday 25 March 2019

Working Men's Club finds permanent home in park

Members of Wexford Working Men’s Club outside their new home in Redmond Park
Members of Wexford Working Men’s Club outside their new home in Redmond Park

Pádraig Byrne

After five years in the wilderness, Wexford Working Men's Club finally have a permanent home to call their very own in Redmond Park.

Having started out at FAB in Coolcotts before a brief stint in the Industrial Estate, the club had been based in the old Wexford Gaol for the past three years. However, as a result of some health and safety issues, another move was on the cards.

Following quite a bit of work, the group were delighted to officially take possession of their new purpose-built shed last week and there'll be plenty of work over the coming weeks to get it kitted out.

Wexford Working Mens Club was founded with a distinct mental health ethos, as chairman Martin Haughton explains.

'We do woodwork and a bit of metalwork, but mostly we support each other,' he said. 'We founded the club five years ago to tackle the fact that men don't talk. Now we come in, we do a bit of work and have a bit of craic and we're all shoulder to shoulder and are here for each other. It can be better than any psychiatrist, coming in here. We have great craic and you always come out smiling.'

'Mental health is obviously a big thing in Wexford,' Martin continued. 'We've all had our ups and downs here. I myself had some issues that I've battled through and I started coming here and I'm the chairman now!'

The club currently consists of between 25 and 30 men and they help a range of other community organisations such as Wexford Tidy Towns, Wexford Chamber and even the council on various projects. Among their most successful to date are the 'Little Libraries' of which they built 15 that are now dotted at different points around town.

Martin concedes that they wouldn't have gotten to this point were it not for the help of certain individuals, particularly former councillor Anthony Kelly, his successor Cllr Thomas Forde, Cllr Tony Walsh and Cllr Davy Hynes as well as a host of county council officials.

'For me, this is an example of what a community group should be,' said Cllr Forde, who donated €5.000 of his municipal allocation towards the project. 'It's great to finally see them have a permanent place to call home after a lot of uncertainty. I'm happy to support any group like this with funding.'

Funding was also provided for the project by Cllr Tony Walsh, alongside €20,000 from Wexford Local Development. The group are over the moon with the finished product and aim to be moved in properly within three weeks at which point they plan to host an open day to show off their new home.

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