PEEBLES and District Men’s Shed members are spending a penny on the loos of the town’s community hub.

Flushed with success after securing a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, volunteers are set to roll up their sleeves to refurbish the toilets of the School Brae hub.

Men’s Shed member Malcolm Bruce said: “Refurbishing toilets may not sound like the most exciting development in town, but clean and cleanable toilets are crucial if we’re going to be able to reopen our doors post COVID and let our members once again pick up where they left off, perhaps with a fresh packet of Jaffa Cakes!”

The latest grant brings the total raised for the refurbishment project to £50,000 in three years.

A rescue mission was launched last year by Peebles Community Trust, which bought the Ex-Servicemen’s Club after it ran into financial difficulty.

It is now used as the trust’s headquarters, but it is also home to Peebles Pipe Band and Peebles Men’s Shed.

The historic building is in need of refurbishment work, as Men’s Shed member Malcolm Bruce explains: “Peebles and District Men’s only got going around three years ago with an initial meeting of maybe a dozen interested guys.

“Since then we have concentrated on finding a permanent home, which we now have within Peebles Community Hub in School Brae.

“With this most recent grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, we will be able to refurbish the toilets in our accommodation, which were last done nearly 50 years ago.

“We have also recently benefitted from substantial assistance from the Robertson Trust which will help with our running costs for the next few years.

“And also from Scottish Borders Council Locality Bid Fund, which assisted with the purchase of tools for our wood and metal working workshops.”

Men’s Sheds are known to play a vital role not only in supporting the individuals who attend, but also enhancing the wider community.

“We all now realise that social isolation, or more simply put – loneliness – is a scourge in our society,” said Malcolm.

“Peebles and District Men’s Shed aims to provide a place where men and women of all adult ages can meet, socialise and engage in meaningful activity in our workshops.

“Membership is free, though we do ask for contributions toward running costs if members can afford it.”

The toilet transformation isn’t just a flash in the pan for the Men’s Shed, who have a number of exciting projects planned.

Malcolm said: “Our workshops will soon be fitted out with £11,000 worth of brand new machinery and work benches enabling members to take on projects of their choice such as wood turning, repair, and refurbishment of almost anything, or furniture building.

“Our social area will provide a separate space where members can simply enjoy the company of others, have a cup of tea, or maybe do a bit of model building, railway modelling, and art.

“Or they can get up to speed on how to get the best out of their computer or tablet. We will develop a programme of talks to discuss, in particular, men’s health issues such as the recent talk on prostate cancer.”