Shed group look­ing for base for launch

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By JAMES HAST­INGS

A CAM­PAIGN has been launched to help tackle lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion among men in the bor­ough .

The Men’s Shed Move­ment has cen­tres spread across the UK and there are now plans for one in Wok­ing­ham.

The aim is to open a com­mu­nity work­shop where men can share prac­ti­cal skills and knowl­edge while also build­ing friend­ships.

Re­search has shown that lone­li­ness can have as big an im­pact on male health as obe­sity and smok­ing.

The sheds al­low men to en­joy hob­bies such as wood­work or met­al­work in a social set­ting rather than in iso­la­tion.

Many Shed­ders, as they are known, also sup­port com­mu­nity projects such as restor­ing vil­lage features, main­tain­ing parks and green spa­ces or build­ing things for schools and li­braries and in­di­vid­u­als.

Tony Smith-Cral­lan Wok­ing­ham, runs a from Men’s Shed in Read­ing but hopes to open one in the bor­ough. An in­au­gu­ral meet­ing was held last night in The Cor­ner­stone.

“Men typ­i­cally find it more dif­fi­cult to build social con­nec­tions than women, and un­like women of a sim­i­lar age, less older men have net­works of friends and rarely share con­cerns about health and per­sonal wor­ries,” ex­plained Mr Smith-Cral­lan.

“It is not the case for all men, but for some, that when re­tire­ment comes, it can feel like per­sonal iden­tity and pur­pose is lost.

“Men’s Sheds can change all of that.

“Sheds are about meet­ing like-minded peo­ple and hav­ing some­one to share your wor­ries with. They are about hav­ing fun, shar­ing skills and gain­ing a re­newed sense of pur­pose and be­long­ing.

“As a by-prod­uct of all of that they re­duce iso­la­tion and feel­ings of lone­li­ness, they al­low men to deal with men­tal health chal­lenges more eas­ily and re­main in­de­pen­dent.

“They re­build com­mu­ni­ties and in many cases, they save men’s lives.”

The Read­ing Men’s Shed has more than 60 mem­bers, many of whom had no prac­ti­cal skills but were keen to learn.

Mr Smith-Cral­lan said: “There’s one guy who worked as a book-keeper who had al­ways wanted to build things but had no tools and no-one to show him. He ended up build­ing a sixsided bench to go round a tree.”

Mr Smith-Cral­lan is hoping a lo­cal busi­ness will do­nate a space for the shed, which are of­ten housed in for­mer in­dus­trial units and even por­ta­ble cab­ins.

“We just need a place where there is space to keep tools and to build things. We have loads of extra tools in Read­ing that we can bring down but any do­na­tions are also wel­come.

“We have had a lot of in­ter­est from men in the bor­ough and we are now just look­ing for a base.”

For more de­tails, call 0118 391 4331 or log on to www. wok­ing­ham­

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