A SENIOR Ledbury councillor says his “off the cuff” comments about a mental health support group were tongue-in-cheek.

Tony Bradford said  Men’s Sheds, a support group for men to make friends and help their mental health, were discriminatory.

But he said the comment, made during a town council meeting on Thursday, September 28, was “a tongue-in-cheek comment made off the cuff”.

“It wasn’t an agenda item, none of us had been briefed on Men’s Sheds and I had never heard of them,” Coun Bradford said.

“I said something about whether there were women’s sheds or if women were banned from them - I was joking.

“Now I’ve looked up Men’s Sheds and what they’re all about. Why would I be against something helping lonely men over 50?”

Men’s Sheds is a network of support groups overseen by the UK Men’s Sheds Association.

It encourages men - and sometimes women - to get together and take part in activities such as gardening, woodworking or electronics, and to talk to each other in a bid to improve their mental health.


“If it is helping lonely men to get together then great,” said Coun Bradford. “I have been a councillor for 18 years, fighting social issues and fighting to help residents the whole of that time. I have been a member of the Labour party all my life.

"Who do you think introduced the food bank to Ledbury? It was me. And I got abuse for that at the time, because people didn’t think Ledbury should have a food bank.”

Ledbury mayor Helen I’Anson said the town council is in support of Men’s Sheds and hoped a group could be created in Ledbury as soon as possible. She said: "Councillor Bradford's comments are not reflective of the council. The council are very much in support of the Men's Shed and hope that a group can be created as soon as possible."