The benefits of the Men’s Shed projects in Tayside were celebrated during a visit to the groups in Arbroath and Carse of Gowrie.
Men’s Shed is a concept that originated in Australia to create somewhere men can call their own, where they can spend time sharing skills, knowledge and interests in a relaxed atmosphere.
They provide a place for men to gather and participate in a number of activities whilst supporting each other. The project has gained in popularity across the world and has now been introduced to several areas across Tayside.
During a recent knowledge exchange visit to Tayside, Lyndon Seys, Chief Executive of Alpine Health, a health provider organisation in Northern Victoria in Australia, visited the local Men’s Shed groups, alongside NHS Tayside Director of Strategic Change Bill Nicoll.
NHS Tayside and Alpine Health previously took part in a knowledge exchange programme to encourage shared learning between both organisations. The programme resulted in the development of Men’s Shed projects in Tayside.
During the visit, Mr Seys met with participants to discuss the activities and benefits of the Men’s Shed projects locally.
Bill Nicoll said, “The Men’s Shed movement in Tayside is expanding and growing and is a fantastic example of community-led initiative. The sheds offer a great opportunity for men to come together and to work on projects, but they also benefit from social engagement and interaction.
“I am delighted that Men’s Sheds have provided the opportunity for Mr Seys to visit as the concept is well established in Australia and is a great example of learning from across the world.”
Mr Seys said, “The Men’s Shed concept was first developed in Australia as an early strategy to address the health issues faced by men.
“In the last three decades we now see that they aid in combating the effects of social isolation, and provide men of all ages with renewed sense of purpose and self-esteem. They also provide men with opportunities for them to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and their social and family relationships.
“It has been a great privilege to see and be a part of the rapid growth of the Men’s Shed initiative in Tayside and the positive impacts that the Men’s Sheds are having on the health of men and the communities in which they live.”
Funding from the Community Innovation Fund has supported a number of Men’s Shed projects across Tayside.
The Community Innovation Fund helps community groups to develop local improvement projects that will benefit the health and wellbeing of their local population. The Fund is financed through the Tayside Health Fund.
Richard McIntosh, community capacity building officer with the Community Innovation Fund, said, “Men’s Sheds support the social, emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing of men and so are important vehicles for maintaining health and for promoting healthy ageing. This basic social isolation factor is a powerful justification for a Men’s Shed, which is seen as a positive, preventive health enhancing facility for the whole population.
“Some members have expressed the positive impact coming to the Men’s Shed has on them. Members have explained that is has helped build their self-esteem and confidence, and it has more importantly given individuals a sense of worth.”