BIG Pit National Coal Museum opened the doors of Torfaen's first Men's Shed on Friday.

The Coal Shed was opened by Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle. It will offer a space for men to socialise and take part in communal activities.

She was joined by members of Torfaen County Borough Council and Blaenavon Town Council, including council leader Antony Hunt, members of the Men’s Sheds initiative and Big Pit staff.

Ms Neagle said: “I am really proud to see that Men’s Sheds have arrived in Torfaen with the Coal Shed in Blaenavon being the first one to open in the constituency.

"Men’s Sheds are a brilliant initiative in addressing loneliness and social isolation and I really hope the Coal Shed will bring men together to share skills, tools and banter.

"I look forward to catching up with the project to hear how it has helped men feel more engaged and connected to their communities. This is a really exciting initiative.”

Men’s Sheds are social groups or enterprises set upon local communities for the benefit of men. How each individual shed looks and the activities that take place in theme depend on entirely on the skills and interests for the group.

The Coal Shed building was last used as the fitting shop for the museum at Big Pit, but was previously the pick sharpening shop for the mine, where miner’s tools were repaired.

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(The Coal Shed at Big Pit is the first Men's Shed in Torfaen. Picture: Big Pit National Coal Museum.)

The Coal Shed has been supported by Blaenavon Town Council and funding has been received from Western Power Distribution (WPD).

WPD’s Karen Welch said: “We believe in playing an active role in the communities we serve. Men’s Sheds are a fine example of our commitment to that.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Museum of Wales and to support Men’s Sheds.

"Initiatives like these are a great way of bringing people together who not only have shared interests and skills, more importantly they can also help to reduce isolation and loneliness within our communities, and can promote health and social benefits.”

The Coal Shed currently has a membership of four, but it is hoped that more men will join.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Big Pit on 029 2057 3650.