Nearly half a million pounds of lottery funding has been allocated to support Age Concern´s “Men in Sheds” scheme, a program aimed at supporting men over the age of 55 who have been affected by life-changing events – such as bereavement and redundancy – and providing an opportunity to socialise and learn practical skills from each other in a supportive environment.
A pilot scheme, launched earlier this year in Cheshire, was based on the Australian model “Mensheds”, which has received worldwide acclaim for its innovation and the value to over-55´s of integrating back into the community after a major trauma in their lives.
John Standing from the scheme has said that men over the age of 55 are welcome to work on projects at the charities warehouse. “They make things and share resources and skills to help each other. It is also a great way for them to access other services which may be useful to them”.
Alex Major of Age Concern Cheshire highlighted the need for more projects involving older men: ‘There are a lot of projects for older people, but they mainly appeal to women and men can feel left out.’ The pilot project had 20 members who helped the charity in the area with jobs such as repairing furniture and minor DIY tasks. Ken Clemens, also of Age Concern Cheshire, said: ‘The atmosphere in the shed is very informal with men coming together to do activities such as wood working, producing items that are sold to help support the work of the shed – or just to socialise and share time with other men.’
Initially, the scheme in Greenwich is the only one planned for the immediate future in the London area, but Age Concern are monitoring the success of “Men in Sheds” and hoping it can be spread nationwide in the near future.
If you are a retired handyman in South London and would like to learn more about the scheme, details are expected to be posted soon on the News pages of the Age Concern web site, or you can call Age Concern Greenwich on 08452 707 507