Men's Sheds are community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. They help to reduce isolation and loneliness.
Springburn Park Men's Shed
Tom Bennett, the secretary of the Springburn Park Men's Shed shares with us the story from North Glasgow.
The story so far
The Men’s Shed located at the old works depot in Springburn Park ran our first session on Tuesday 15th January 2019. We now open three days a week Tuesday –Thursday.
We have 27 members in total, and on average 6-12 people attend daily. Our youngest member is 22 and our oldest is 87, the majority of our members are over 50’s.
A sense of purpose
There are so many retired or out of work skilled men in the local communities surrounding Springburn Park that have nothing to do. We give them a purpose again, a reason to get out of the house, a new circle of friends, all the tools and equipment they need to build or repair things, a social area to meet, chat, read, listen to music, but most of all we offer companionship!
It’s incredible to witness the change in some members from the first day they attend and within weeks they are laughing and joking and meeting up out with the Men’s Shed.
Some of the guys have said they would attend everyday if we were open. Initially local men found out about the Mens shed through word of mouth but we now use Social Media and have an advertising plan.
Meaningful activity and conversation
The Men's Shed workshop offers both wood work and metal work sessions. We have recently had healthy eating on a budget classes and run a lunch club free of charge. An unexpected benefit of the lunch club is, this is the time when the guys usually chat about personal health, family and financial problems.
Sometimes others offer advice, they may have had a similar problem or know someone or an organisation who helped them. We have built good relations with other community focused organisations and some local businesses.
The benefit of attending the men's shed has excelled our expectations. Two members have gone back into full time employment, three members are now volunteering. The men have said their mental and physical wellbeing has improved. Our members are re-engaging with the community, passing on and sharing skills. Members eat at least one cooked meal on the day they attend. They have a new circle of friends and a sense of belonging among people who are non judgmental and accept them as they are.
Jimmy - One of many success stories
Jimmy has been a scaffolder - rigger all his working life. One day his wife upped and left him after 21 years of marriage. He never saw it coming and his life started to fall apart. At the beginning of 2018 he was working 50ft high on scaffolding with the freezing rain coming at him sideways. The horn sounded for lunch time but on his way down he broke down, crying uncontrollably! His workmates shoved him in the van and took him to hospital.
He was later diagnosed with anxiety and depression and subsequently off work for 12 months. During a visit with a psychologist at Stobhill Mental Health Campus he was told about the new Men’s Shed across the road at Springburn Park.
Jimmy told us he tried twice to pluck up the courage to walk in the gate to the shed. On the third attempt he succeeded. Jimmy attended the Men’s Shed every Tuesday and Thursday for the next couple of months until one evening he received a phone call from former workmate offering him a six week job contract on a movie set in the highlands. Jimmy came into the shed the next morning to thank us for giving him back his self esteem and the confidence to accept the job offer. We haven’t heard from Jimmy since!
Further reading and support
Find out more about the Men's Shed movement in Scotland.
More video clips on the Scottish Men's Shed YouTube Chanel
Head's up offers mental health advice, and information, on mental health conditions - about how you can support yourself or the people you care for, the services available for you and the range of interventions you may participate in.
Scotland's Service Directory - part of NHS Inform, Scotland's Service Directory provides information about support services to keep you healthier, happier and well.
Thanks to Tom Bennett, the secretary of the Springburn Park Men's Shed for this contribution.
Some names and identifying details in this case study have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals
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