Every man needs a shed
In September 2016, we received notice that a funding application we had submitted to SSE’s Gordonbush Community Fund to run a Men’s Shed project at Helmsdale Community Centre. The Men’s Shed movement came about because there was a real issue with the health of older men, especially recently retired men. A lot of men can sometimes take time to adjust to retirement, feeling they are no longer useful – the same goes after a diagnosis of dementia, as in both cases roles and responsibilities are removed from people, leaving them feeling like they have no purpose.
Older people have an abundance of knowledge and so many skills, both to teach and to use – they can contribute to society by fixing and restoring old household objects, bicycles, garden tools, or teach younger people joinery, engineering or gardening skills. Older people can also share their skills with one another, peer learning can be such a rewarding experience – and there is nothing to say that someone with dementia can’t learn a new skill, there is merit and pleasure to be derived from the mere experience of being taught, as well as the subject matter.
Each Men’s Shed is different because it is shaped and run by the members – it can be a gardening club or art and crafts, motorbike maintenance or beekeeping – you name it.
On 17th February 2017 the Men’s Shed in Helmsdale was launched. The Shed, constructed between September 2016 and February 2017, is located next to Helmsdale Community Centre on disused piece of land leased from Helmsdale and District Community Association.
At the opening of the event we explained the social and emotional benefits that Men’s Sheds have proven to bring to men since the concept was originally introduced in Australia. A cheque for £1,000 was presented to Bunillidh Rowing Club, who built the shed, and thanks were also given to those who donated the windows, tools by Dementia Friendly Communities and Helmsdale District Development Trust, along with a number of local organisations and personnel who contributed by providing discount on purchased items and significant contributions in time to expedite the build. The Men’s Shed sign at the entrance to the Shed was hand-crafted by Alan Bithell, a Golspie resident, who was made aware of the Helmsdale Men’s Shed through Veteran’s First Point visits to Helmsdale.
The event was attended by over 20 people including local residents and representatives from SSE, Evanton Wood Community Company, Veterans First Point Highland and Woodland Trust Scotland. Attendees were treated to pies, sausage rolls, chips and beans as well as freshly baked cakes and a specially prepared Men’s Shed cake given by Margaret Finlayson.
The Helmsdale Men’s Shed is now one of almost 50 Sheds in Scotland and is a member of the Scottish Men’s Shed Association. If you are interested in finding out more about the Shed then you can drop in between 9.30am and 2.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or call 01431 821655. The Shed can also be open outwith these times by prior arrangement.
To find out more about our Men’s Shed just contact us.