A NURSE who set up a project to help socially-isolated men says her upbringing in Dumbarton helped form her life-long drive to care for others.

Thousands of people chose Sarah Everett as the winner of the Patient Choice category at the Royal College of Nursing Institute (RCNi) Awards recently after she worked tirelessly to establish a Men’s Shed in Govan.

The 51-year-old was one of five inspirational nurses shortlisted as finalists and according to the men who use the health and social hub, the project has actually changed their lives.

The former Braehead Primary and Dumbarton Academy pupil said: “The men are delighted for me and I’m really touched at how many people voted for me.”

Sarah loved biology at secondary school and fostered her community spirit through her participation in the 1st Dumbarton Guides.

She was also deeply inspired by her mother, who was heavily involved with Riverside Parish Church in Dumbarton.

She added: “I was in the guides and we did a lot of good in the community. My mum was also very much into helping people.

“She did lots of charity events and helped run the 12 plus, a youth group in the church in Dumbarton, as well as visiting old people who were housebound and things like that.”

Sarah, who now lives in Kilbarchan and works as a practice nurse at Govan Health Centre was keen to set up a Men’s Shed after realising many of her patients were suffering from the effects of social isolation.

After securing funding from the Queen’s Nursing Institute and liaising with council officials, she was able to set up the hub at a derelict nursery near the health centre.

The whole place needed painting, repairing and refurbishment, but driven by Sarah’s ‘can-do’ attitude and unwavering support, the men completely transformed the premises.

Latest headlines: The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong's visit to Dumbarton and the Vale

Sarah started with five patients on the project but it quickly grew to 15. Now more than 30 attend regularly.

As well as typical Men’s Shed activities such as woodworking, the hub at Govan goes beyond this, offering activities such as gardening, darts and cooking.

And with a nurse attached it also provides health checks and wellbeing advice in an informal setting, which has led to undiagnosed conditions such as low iron and high blood pressure being picked up.

Men’s Shed member John Alexander, who nominated Sarah for the award, added:

“Sarah has relentlessly pursued this when no one else in the area thought it necessary. We have never known a practice nurse who has been so willing and able to go the extra mile for men like us.

“She dedicates hours navigating her way round red tape and has an infectious and vibrant enthusiasm, which is inspirational.

Click here for all the latest news in Dumbarton and the Vale

‘She motivates everyone involved to keep going, even when we have been dealt bitter blows. Her ability to lead and cajole is what has made the Shed possible.”