Martin Whitfield MSP has joined 40 parliamentary colleagues across the political spectrum in signing a joint letter to the Deputy First Minister supporting funding for the men’s shed movement in Scotland.

The cross-party letter urges John Swinney to reverse the decision to end core funding for the Scottish Men’s Shed Association (SMSA), which has played a pivotal role in supporting the development and expansion of the network of sheds across the country.

The umbrella body for local shed groups will receive no more government cash after a grant of £75,000 runs out later this year.

The letter asks Mr Swinney “to revisit the present core and developmental funding for the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association so that they can continue to build upon the needed requirements of the Scottish men’s sheds health movement for the people of Scotland, rather than putting unsupported pressure on these thousands of volunteers and see a collapse of this national treasure that they have worked so diligently and passionately to create.”

Commenting on his support for the call, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“The men’s shed movement has grown in East Lothian and across Scotland over recent years, providing an important social outlet for hundreds of men and helping to tackle isolation and address mental and other men’s health issues.

“Funding has always been a struggle for these groups, which often don’t fit traditional models for accessing financial support. Despite such difficulties many groups have managed to thrive and involve local men in a range of practical and social activities, often to the benefit of the local community as well as the individuals who attend the sheds.

“I hope this cross-party letter backing the SMSA will prompt the Scottish Government to rethink its proposed cut and maintain the modest level of funding that helps the Association support so much good in communities across Scotland.”