Men in Sheds
By providing safe and inclusive 'sheds' for men the Men's Shed movement seeks to reduce social isolation, and associated physical and mental health problems.
To have somewhere where predominantly older/retired men can go to utilise existing skills in woodworking and metalwork and to learn new skills and share their knowledge. It aims to tackle social exclusion - a recognised issue for recently retired/widowed men, to be somewhere for advice, support and companionship, and offer something practical and worthwhile for them to do. Over time it's hoped the shed would offer training to a wider age range as it becomes established so more practical skills can be passed on and give younger people the chance to try different things such as wood turning, blacksmithing and metal work.
Benefits for individuals are: tackling/preventing depression, to be an alternative to the pub, to be a gateway to other groups/opportunities and be able to make a positive contribution. For society it looks to reduce health issues both physical and mental in older men, eventually provide training for younger and older people, and work on a principle of re-use, repair and recycle thus being as green and sustainable as possible. It is also hoped that the shed would provide support and assistance to those less able within it's community for example by undertaking simple repairs. Dave King (Chair, Men in Sheds)
Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, officially opened The Dusty Shed, a Men in Sheds project in Ely, on Thursday 17 November 2017 by sawing through a piece of wood in place of the traditional ribbon cutting.
The Dusty Shed, a wood workshop based in the old betting shop on the grounds of the Dusty Forge, was gifted to the Dusty Shed charity by Action in Caerau and Ely. Dave King, Chair of the Dusty Shed, used the occasion to thank all the people who have supported The Dusty Shed on its 3 year journey from idea to opening. Special thanks were given to Willmott Dixon for donating time and materials to refurbish the building, Travis Perkins for donating wood that has since been turned into work benches, and Data Power Tools for a large donation of tools.
The opening was attending by the Dusty Shed’s volunteers, supporters, members of the national Men’s Sheds Cymru Association and Red Watch from Ely Fire Station. Red Watch kindly represented their colleagues Green Watch, who were not on shift for the opening but helped to paint the Shed during some very wet weeks earlier in the year.
Speaking about the project, the Commissioner said
“I have visited a number of Men’s Sheds across Wales and have seen first-hand the fantastic work they do to help older men make new friends and develop their skills. I’m sure this new Shed in Cardiff will become a great asset to the local community and assist a large number of local older people who are at risk of becoming lonely or isolated.
Loneliness and Isolation forms a key part of the Ageing Well in Wales programme hosted in my office and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has now recognised loneliness and isolation as a key public health issue, which has a serious impact on the health and wellbeing of older people. Research has shown that loneliness has an effect on the health of older people similar in size to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is associated with poor mental health. That’s why Men’s Sheds are so important – they can make a real difference to people’s lives.”
This is the first Cardiff Men in Sheds to open, however hopefully the future will find the initiative spreading to the other wards in the city centre, including Grangetown.