Men’s Sheds group offers a chance to develop skills
By Brendan Grehan
Recently formed Men’s Shed Lucan is a member of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA). The Men’s Sheds motto, first said in Australia in 2007, is “Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder”.
It is this type of simple and perceptive vision that resonates most with people when they first hear about Men’s Sheds; especially people who may be wondering why and how Men’s Sheds work.
Currently Men’s Shed Lucan consists of a start-up group of some 14 men (and also several fantastic women advisors).
Eamon Brennan, a member of the Men’s Shed Lucan, says: “We have great ambitions but lack a key item for a successful Men’s Sheds group – we have no premises, no place to meet as shedders.
“Our proposal to South Dublin County Council (SDCC), to convert the old Caretaker’s cottage at Esker cemetery, was short-listed for the SDCC ‘Have Your Say’ public vote.
The Men’s Sheds movement began in Australia when men realised the value of coming together around practical tasks on a regular basis, particularly if they had a designated place or workshop where tools and work-in-progress could be stored.
This appeals to men of all ages both living alone or with partners, though the majority of shedders are at or beyond retirement date.
For many men this transitional period in life not only brings a loss of a work role, but also of identity, status, workmates, income and possibly a sense of purpose.
The general community activities on offer may not appeal to some men and, as they expect to meet their own needs, some level of social isolation can develop.
A Men’s Shed offers something new and very inclusive for most men. Men who have their own shed typically develop their skills and interests there, but in a larger facility, with better and additional equipment, they can develop more broadly and be involved with challenging projects or community commissions.
The central tenet of Men’s Shed Lucan is that they strive to provide a place in which all men have the opportunity to maintain and improve their well-being on their own terms and in their own community.
It is a place where they can talk about things that are important to them and improve their wellbeing by being physically, mentally and socially active.
They believe in the dignity, uniqueness and equality of every person and seek to promote the development of men in a society where too many men fail to reach their potential.
To that end, they are working to ensure that men in Lucan have the opportunity to improve and maintain health and well-being by participating in a community Men’s Shed.
Each Men’s Shed group can realise their potential and take responsibility for and ownership of individual aims and projects.
The passing on of skills, traditional and new, is a core aspect and each man is encouraged to see himself as a teacher and a learner.
Whether it’s a chat, a cup of tea or a complex project that attracts you, Men’s Shed is the place to be.
The Lucan group is intended to provide a haven and a place of belonging, of participatory democracy, mutual respect and companionship for one and all Shedders.