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