Men’s Shed to open in Barnston
The second stage of a new community venture for men will launch in Uttlesford on the 30th of this month. The Men’s Shed, on the site of the Rainbow Rural Education Centre in Barnston, is the second to open in the District. The first was established at Little Canfield last year.
Funded by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG), Essex County Council and coordinated by Council for Voluntary Services Uttlesford (CVSU), Men’s Sheds are community spaces where men over working age can share skills, share projects and meet informally.
The initiative is based on the highly successful Australian model designed to improve men’s health and wellbeing. Set up with monies from the Independent Choice and Control Fund, the ‘Shed’ will provide a much needed resource in the community where men from all backgrounds and ages can choose projects that will benefit other members of the community and each other.
Kirsty O’ Callaghan, Assistant Director of Transformation at West Essex CCG says,
“A poor sense of wellbeing can have a knock-on effect on a person’s general health. We know that men are less likely than women to seek help or visit a health professional in these circumstances. Very often men of a certain age feel reluctant to talk about their feelings. They may have experienced the loss of a partner or be struggling to come to terms with retirement, which can lead to feelings of isolation and lack of purpose. Men’s Sheds are about men looking out for each other; looking out for their community and looking out for themselves.”
Community Men’s Sheds are places to swap skills or learn new ones; most importantly there is no pressure. The emphasis is on joining in, getting to know people and enjoying the company of like-minded others. Those who want a project can get involved in everything from small repairs for the community to making bird boxes and planters to enhance their neighbourhoods.
Councillor Anne Brown, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, added: “This is a wonderful initiative that provides a great opportunity for men to use their life skills and share what they know with others. They can build relationships, increase their sense of wellbeing and develop a shared enthusiasm for community-centred activities.”