The Shedders - woodworking, repairs and lots more
To operate a range of services aimed specifically at older Tameside men across three wards – Ashton Waterloo, Denton South and Newton Hyde - to help them age well via engaging them in a practical, activities-based programme that would keep them:
- socially engaged
- mentally and physically active
- positive in their outlook
A programme was devised based on setting up and running “pop up” sheds to provide a place for the men to meet together while mending or making wooden items, sharing their not only their experience and expertise, but their life stories and other reminiscences.
Based on a concept similar to Men in Sheds, the project offers a range of activities with older men in mind. These include woodworking and furniture repair, upkeep of a kitchen garden, beekeeping, walking, bicycle repair, computer skills and family history projects.
This hope is that the men recruited will in turn recommend the project to more men, thus building up a wide mix of experience and skills amongst 'The Shedders’ leading to the expansion into more and more activities in future.
As well as proving a route for older men to meet each other and create new friendships, it is apparent that the shed project is encouraging men to talk about the their concerns and experiences around their health issues, giving them access to a solid support network of trusted confidantes.
We also know from previous research into the impact of projects such as Men in Sheds that men respond very positively to engaging with their peers in purposeful work-like activities that bring fulfilment and personal achievement. Additionally, it serves to give them a sense of self-esteem, self-worth and even an improved sense of masculinity.
Overall, there has been hugely positive feedback from ‘shedders’ about the impact this project has made to their mental wellbeing and how they have been experiencing a significant reduction in feelings of social isolation, for example:
“I used to be depressed but now I’m not – I’m not on medication”
“Coming here gets me out of the house, it lessens your depression because sitting at home all the time is not good”
Lessons learned about getting the most effective results from a project such as this include:
- Keep the publicity flowing using marketing, word of mouth recommendations, leafleting (letterbox drops), posters, contacting signposting organisations, advertising, radio, and postal as well as email contact.
- Involve potential shedders in conversations about what the activities they would particularly like to become involved.
- Attend as many Ambition for Ageing consultations and networking events as possible in order to gain hints and tips
- Run regular evaluation and satisfaction surveys of the service among the mend who attend.
The Shed staff and volunteers continue to engage men who live in the Ambition for Ageing target area. With the concept so well established and so popular not just on a regional and national basis – but on an international one as well – it is critical that we continue to provide a safe and supportive place for men to get together and work on projects to benefit themselves and their local communities.
To watch a short video about the The Shedders and the positive changes in the lives of people who attend, click here
Ambition for Ageing Partnerships Officer
Tel: 0161 339 2345
Mobile: 07825 157 579