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,” Cllr Bradford told the Ledbury Reporter.

“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?”

READ MORE: Upset in Ledbury after Men's Shed 'ignorance'

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 Cllr 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 after coun Bradford's comments: "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."

You can find information about joining an existing Shed, which are located not only in actual sheds but in community buildings, workshops and garages around the country, or starting your own Shed at menssheds.org.uk