Council to open three new Men’s sheds

Mayor Cllr Paul Reid pictured alongside members of community group, Brighter Whitehead. Council is to open three new Men's Sheds in the borough.
Mayor Cllr Paul Reid pictured alongside members of community group, Brighter Whitehead. Council is to open three new Men's Sheds in the borough.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has secured PEACE IV funding to support a Men’s Sheds project and open three new ones in the borough.

It’s part of the Your Place Our Space (YPOS) programme which encourages sustained, shared use of natural and man-made open spaces. The project aims to reduce conflict and improve community wellbeing by developing skills and knowledge.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Reid said, “I am delighted that a portion of this funding will be allocated to support two existing Men’s Sheds and assist with the development of three new Men’s Sheds in the borough. They can be important community spaces for men to connect. Research shows loneliness and isolation can have a very detrimental effect on a person’s health and wellbeing. In fact, there has recently been more evidence that shows loneliness and isolation can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking.

“Men can find it more difficult to build social connections than women and may have few networks of friends compared to their female counterparts. These spaces offer a forum to discuss any struggles men may have or to share personal concerns about health or general worries. For some men, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost.

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to improving the quality of life for all the people of the borough and I hope Men’s Sheds can significantly contribute to this.”

Victoria Little, Director of UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA) said, “Men’s Sheds are similar to garden sheds, a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.

“Sheds are whatever the members - or Shedders as we call them - want them to be. Although labelled sheds, they often aren’t sheds at all. They can be empty offices, Porta cabins, warehouses, garages, and in at least one case, a disused mortuary. Some Sheds are purpose built workshops, but they rarely start out that way. Many don’t have premises at all in the beginning and instead form a group that meets regularly for the social connection, company and camaraderie until they can find somewhere to kit out with tools. Many Sheds get involved in community projects too – restoring village features, helping maintain parks and green spaces, and building things for schools, libraries and individuals in need.

“Activities in Sheds vary greatly, from woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring, electronics, gardening and music. Sheds typically attract older men, but many have younger members and women too. Whatever the activity, the essence of a Shed is not a building, but the connections and relationships between its members.”

For more information you can register by emailing yourplaceourspace@midandeastantrim.gov.uk before 31 January 2018.