Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoul­der to shoul­der

Bray People - - WICKLOW MEN’S SHEDS -

THE men’s shed move­ment is founded on a sim­ple prin­ci­ple; as our slo­gan says – “Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoul­der to shoul­der”. While the stereo­typ­i­cal view of a shed con­jures im­ages of re­tired men work­ing with their hands, sheds and shed­ders come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Some work won­ders with wood and me­tal, some pre­fer get­ting out and about in na­ture, and some sim­plym­ply en­joy meet­ing up for a cup of tea and a chat. The strength of the move­ment lies inn its di­ver­di­ver­sity, and nowhere is that more ap­par­ent than in our Wick­low sheds; from gar­den­ing and poul­try-rais­ing in New­town­moun­tkennedy, to bas­ket-weav­ing in Avoca, to the restora­tion of the Old Li­brary in Bless­ing­ton.

As an or­gan­i­sa­tion, we at the IMSA are fiercely pro­tec­tive of our sheds’ in­de­pen­dence and au­ton­omy. While we sup­port sheds to the great­est ex­tent pos­si­ble via pro­grammes such as our new health ini­tia­tive Sheds for Life, each shed re­tains com­plete con­trol over its own ac­tiv­i­ties.

Hand-in-hand with that in­de­pen­dence, how­ever, goes a strong sense of co-op­er­a­tion and in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness, which we try to fos­ter by bring­ing sheds to­gether in reg­u­lar county “clus­ter meet­ings”. Per­haps our most vi­brant and pro­duc­tive clus­ter meet­ing was our Wick­low gath­er­ing, which was held in Bless­ing­ton this April and at­tracted rep­re­sen­ta­tives from ev­ery shed in the county.

The ex­po­nen­tial growth of men’s sheds through­out Ire­land has brought ad­di­tional count­ing). Sup­port from agen­cies such as the HSE and other pub­lic and pri­vate fun­ders has en­abled us to adapt, con­sol­i­date and thrive.

The great­est mea­sure of credit, how­ever, must go to the shed­ders them­selves. Thanks to their pos­i­tiv­ity, hos­pi­tal­ity, civic-mind­ed­ness and warmth of wel­come, the men’s sheds move­ment has be­come syn­on­syn­ony­mous with every­thing best in Ir­ish life. WWe look for­ward to sup­port­ing its sus­tain­able­sus­tai growth through­out the en­tire is­land,is­land as we strive to bring about a fu­ture where ev­ery man has the op­tion of join­ing a sheshed and con­tribut­ing pos­i­tively to his com­mu­nity.

Pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions could take for granted the tra­di­tional so­cial bonds of fam­ily, work­place and com­mu­nity. To­day’s so­ci­ety is far more frag­mented and un­cer­tain, but our ba­sic need to reach out to oth­ers, to sup­port and en­cour­age and to con­trib­ute pro­duc­tively to our com­mu­ni­ties re­mains as strong as ever. Sheds pro­vide a safe and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment for men to do just that, and we thank the Wick­low Peo­ple for giv­ing us this op­por­tu­nity to spread the word through­out the Gar­den County.

Barry Sheri­dan.

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