There’s a really great thing starting to take place in Aldridge at the moment, and as a chap that likes to make stuff, repair things and generally create bits and pieces with my hands, this looks like a great project that really chimes with me.
Men’s Sheds (and they’re not just open to men – the ladies can join too!) started in Australia a couple of decades ago and provide creative activities, a social focus and space just to hang out, chat and create for older members of the society who feel they’ve got lots to give the community.
The first meeting to gauge interest takes place Tomorrow (Friday 12th February 2016) at 11am at the Aldridge Youth Theatre , in Noddy Park Road, central Aldridge.
Please do pop along – this is a fantastic movement and I’m so pleased it seems to be starting up locally.
A Men’s Shed is a larger community version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place for making, mending and hobbies where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. A Men’s Shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction; a place of leisure where men come together to work.
Shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (e.g. carpentry, joinery, turning, carving, whittling, marquetry, furniture renovation) but also include pottery, metalworking (milling, sheet metal, welding, etc.) bike repair, gardening, electronics, tool renovation, boat renovation, model engineering (model railways, planes) and even building a car!
Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly – and some say that is true of the men too! Although Sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people. Whichever activities are pursued, the essence of a Shed is not a physical building, which some don’t even have, but the creation and network of relationships between its members.
Royal Voluntary Service has launched a new national partnership with Men’s Sheds Association England to bring a fresh approach to developing Men’s Sheds. Royal Voluntary Service exists to enrich the lives of older people and to ensure that they can continue to live life to the full. It does this by providing support and volunteering opportunities to older people in order to have a beneficial impact on their health and well being.
Royal Voluntary Service are working with communities to empower them to come together to design, co-produce and own their own Shed – and in turn, to tackle the increased incidence of social isolation and loneliness among the growing population of older men and build stronger, more resilient communities.
‘It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and for two days a week I feel I’m gainfully employed. I really feel good working with and helping chaps who often feel isolated in the community. I would need a very good reason not to come.’
Bill, aged 67
If you are interested in improving men’s health and well being, in skill sharing, in material reuse or being creative – or simply talking through how a Shed could possibly work in and benefit you and your community – please get in touch.
Jo Phillips – Project Manager –
Men’s Sheds, Royal Voluntary Service
firstname.lastname@example.org (m) 07423 471 018