A GARNOCK Valley man says his life has been transformed thanks to joining the Dalry Men’s Shed.

Scott McInnes previously worked in as an apprentice in butcher’s shop after leaving school, but after two years started suffering epileptic fits and his career looked to have ended as soon as it began.

Since then he found it difficult to gain employment and, as his fits got worse, he began to feel increasingly isolated.

Though it was at this near lowest point that he came across the local Men's Shed organisation.

Scott explained: “I was turning the spare room into a padded room because I was scared. I was in the food larder and I saw an advert for the Men’s Shed. 

“When I was visiting my sister and she said I should go. I was walking down thinking I would not go in, but I sat down with Gus McLafferty, secretary of the Men’s Shed, and spoke to him.

"I felt on the top of the world.”

Now Scott is full of confidence and is one of the first to greet people when they come to the shed.

He was given a bike at the shed to help get him around the area, and recently he completed a bicycle maintenance course.

He has found a new outlet for his efforts with a potential long-term aspiration to secure work in the bicycle trade. 

He has continued to work with others from the Men’s Shed to repair bikes, some of which were given to Ukrainian and Syrian refugees.

This helped earn him the Scottish Adult Learners Award, which he was presented with last September in Glasgow.

Now he takes part in social gatherings  – which were out of his reach before – and has gained many friends.

The Men’s Sheds throughout North Ayrshire provide a hub for local men to come together for companionship and conversation, whilst undertaking tasks that utilise existing skills, or help them to develop new skills, and provide an excellent community service at the same time. 

Most of the Men’s Sheds build planters and other furniture and ornaments that are either donated or sold within the community to help fund their projects. 

Some also offer bicycle refurbishment, which sees them repairing and recycling donated bicycles that, once in good working order again, are donated back to members of the community in need, including many of the New Scots who have moved into the area.