Shed group looking for base for launch
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. wokinghammensshed.org.uk