South Lanarkshire View
South Lanarkshire View

A shedload of men gather to discuss project’s success

Published: Tuesday 5 November 2019

The phenomenal success of a project that helps older men was clear when 100 Men’s Shedders enjoyed their first gathering.

Entitled Shedtastic, the event at Hamilton Accies’ stadium brought together members from all over South Lanarkshire, with men travelling from Tarbrax, Kirkmuirhill, Carluke, Hamilton and everywhere in between.

The members were able to share ideas to let them learn from each other’s experiences as well as hearing from speakers including Malcolm Cowie, policy manager in the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Team, and Paul Creechan, from the council’s Seniors Together team.

Councillor Jim McGuigan, South Lanarkshire Council's Spokesperson for Older People, said: “It was heart-warming to see so many Men’s Shed members meeting and mixing so well – not just because the numbers involved and widespread locations they travelled from showed how successful this scheme has been locally, but also because the camaraderie that could be seen everywhere demonstrated exactly why it is so beneficial.

“Because each shed sets up individually, the members can often come up with their own ideas that no one else has thought of, and so an event like this is perfect for each group to find out things that can help them, too, and take these ideas back to their own sheds.

“It was also appropriate that this was held at Accies’ stadium, because the club’s chief executive, Colin McGowan, was instrumental in helping us to set up our very first Men’s Shed, in Hamilton, so we were coming full circle in having our first gathering here.

“We also invited a range of key staff, because it is important that our own people, who are working in communities that may benefit from a Men’s Shed, understand the benefits they can bring and the sort of situations they can help.

“It all goes towards taking the success of this project and using that to help even more people in the future, and in better ways.”

Men's Sheds operate in communities across South Lanarkshire and offer all men, including those who are retired or out of work, a chance to pursue hobbies and pastimes and share skills while also relaxing and socialising with a cuppa and a chat.

Sheds are informal and no two need be the same, with each one developing in the way most suited to its particular members.

There are no set activities – for example, woodwork, engines, cards, darts, electronics, photography, cooking and lathe work are all popular pastimes, all with frequent tea breaks and a healthy dose of chat and laughter.

Paul Creechan explained: “Each one takes on a life of its own, because Men's Sheds work best when they are run by the men who use them, usually by an elected committee or by shed members and local people.

“Women are welcome at the sheds, too, of course, but men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, fewer older 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, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that.”

Anyone wishing further details on existing Men's Sheds or interested in starting one can contact Seniors Together by email or by telephone on 01698 454105.