A COMMUNITY group for men to socialise and learn new skills has warned that council delays have members considering "shutting up shop".

The Three Towns Men's Shed currently operates from number 11 on Glasgow Street in Ardrossan.

But there are very real fears that the Three Towns Men's Shed may not be able to continue as it outgrows its Glasgow Street base.

The group first moved into the Ardrossan base in late 2021 - and membership has grown considerably since.

Now, one group member told the Herald that "we are trying to function in a space which is far too small for us".

In June last year the group says the council promised it that it could extend and move into number seven and nine Glasgow Street as well - it is safe to say members were delighted. They say they were told they would be moved in by November 2022.

But now, over a year on, "all sorts of delays" mean that the group is no further forward.

A member added that only a week ago they were told that the keys were "imminent" for the other units however, “that was a week ago and we have heard nothing in the last seven days," they commented.

As they continue to "go weeks without hearing from anyone”, fears for the group have come to light.

They say their current premises is "only capable of holding 15 or 16 people” - far below the current membership numbers.

They added that as the situation spirals on, they are "talking about shutting up shop”.

It is not just size that has become an issue, with the group losing vital funds as a result of its premises.

Back in April the Three Towns Men's Shed secured £8,000 of National Lottery funding to help support its endeavours.

However, it has since been asked to return part of this, which the group was unable to spend as it could not purchase the machinery desired as it had nowhere to store it.

It is a culmination of issues, which members say has been caused by the council delays, leaving the group "at the end of our tether”.

After hearing the group's complaints, North Ayrshire Council said that it understands the Men's Shed's frustrations - and that it is still working on their request.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are appreciative of the great work the Men’s Shed do and continue to support them in their endeavours.

“We understand their frustrations at not having formally secured new premises but we are working on their most recent request.”

Men's Sheds across Scotland have provided a real lifeline service for many in the community, with a member of the Garnock Valley Men's Shed once explaining how the group has "saved his life" - amid fears that state funding is set to be cut for the community movement.

READ MORE: Garnock Valley Men's Shed member Colin tells STV community space saved his life

Here in the Three Towns, upon a previous Herald visit to the shed, chairman of the group, Donald McLarty, told how the daughter of a group member thanked them for “giving her her dad back” after she saw his change in mood after attending the group.