I really enjoyed my recent visit to the Garnock Valley’s Men’s Shed in Kilbirnie.
Men’s Sheds are a place for men of all ages to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. These Sheds are about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.
Sheds are whatever the members want them to be.
You can usually find woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring, electronics, model buildings or even car building in a typical Shed. Whatever the activity, the essence of a Shed is not a building, but the connections and relationships between its members.
For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing, which can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking. Surveys from mental health charities are finding that millions of people report feeling lonely on a daily basis.
Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women fewer men have networks of friends and rarely share personal concerns about health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, often when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that.
Sheds are about meeting like-minded people and having someone to share your worries with. They are about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge with like-minded people and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives.
The Men’s Shed in the Garnock Valley is a welcoming place for all and its numbers are growing all the time.