When is a shed not a shed?
The traditional image of a shed is a solitary, probably dilapidated wooden structure at the end of the garden occupied by junk, oversized arachnids and the occasional homo sapien, trying to find sanctuary from ‘er indoors.
So what is the traditional image of a newly retired man? Someone who spends the day wearing slippers and watching repeats on the TV, or perhaps undertaking all those DIY jobs he’s been promising to do for years? How about someone who has had to walk away from most of his social connections, or feels that his useful life has ended?
Men often find it difficult to build social networks within their communities. Bringing men together in community sheds is one solution to raising the levels of wellbeing in a man’s life. It is somewhere men can meet, undertake practical projects, learn and share skills and well as develop new friendships. In fact, a place where they feel ‘useful’.
Men’s sheds are popping up all over the country. It is estimated that the UK currently has 500 men’s sheds, either in use or being developed. The island is lucky to currently have eight men’s sheds currently open, with many more being planned over the next couple of years. Most of the sheds provide traditional activities, such as woodworking and gardening, but activities are not limited to woodturning or growing broad beans.
The music Shed is our most popular shed currently running, with men turning up with guitars, banjo’s, ukuleles and in fact anything else made of wood and string. Words and chord tabs are provided along with refreshments (and Jaffa Cakes!) and for two hours the men play and sing, and love every minute of it.
Sandown Engineers Shed’s task is to restore some old Ruston power generators, which once supplied electricity to Brown’s Golf Course and the PLUTO sheds. These engines are still in situ, where they were placed 70-80 years ago. This shed is ideally suited to retired or current engineers. It is hoped to be open to the public for the Hullabaloo Weekend coming up on 12-13th May in Sandown Bay.
If any of you have been to Fort Victoria, you may have visited ‘Sunken Secrets’, an underwater archaeology centre. The Totland Shed men needed a place to reside in over the winter, with their regular shed being too small and cold for the winter months. Katie Cambridge, who runs Sunken Secrets, has welcomed us in to help her and her partner give the museum a long overdue makeover. I must say, it’s looking amazing, with much more interactive stuff for the whole family. Much of this would not have been possible without the Totland Shed men, who in turn have enjoyed the challenge and changes there.
For the future there are talks with people form a new Aviation Museum at Sandown Airport, a community garden in Gurnard, a history shed, a veterans shed and perhaps even a mobile ‘pop-up’ shed, to undertake more community projects. If you have any ideas or thoughts on the Men’s Sheds, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you.
The current Men’s Sheds are:
Acoustic Music – every Wednesday evening 6-8pm in Newport.
Please contact Lois for more details.
Brading – every Thursday 10-12 at Brading Youth Club
(opposite main car park)
Newport – Every Wednesday afternoon 1-4pm, behind Age UK IOW
(next door to County Hall)
Ryde – Aspire Church (not an Age UK shed).
Please contact Aspire on 716020
Sandown Engineering – meets every Tuesday 10-12pm
Please contact Lois for more details
Shanklin – every Monday 2-4pm at YMCA Winchester House, Sandown Road, Shanklin.
Ventnor (no longer Age UK)
Please contact Ventnor Shed on 857848