The Northern Men In Sheds group now has a new permanent home in the grounds of Ramsey Cottage Hospital. Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK was the guest of honour at the official opening of the new shed on Wednesday August 16th, and was accompanied by other VIPs and representatives from organisations and community groups across the north of the Island which have supported the project.
The Men in Sheds concept began in Australia in the 1990s as a way of addressing the issue of social isolation among retired men. The idea spread to the UK, and more recently to the Isle of Man. Northern Men In Sheds was set up by the Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes charity in 2014 when a need was identified in the north of the Island for a project to help address issues of social isolation and loneliness amongst older men. Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes is an independent Manx-registered charity which is dedicated to supporting the Island’s older generation.
Northern Men In Sheds provides men aged 55 and over with an opportunity to meet and use a workshop for creative projects involving metalwork, carpentry, and other skills – or the members can just meet for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee, or for a game of bridge.
The group has been meeting on a different site, also in the grounds of Ramsey Cottage Hospital, but the opening of the new shed means that it now has a permanent home kitted out with new woodworking and metal working tools and machinery. There has been a lot of interest from the local community, and members of the group will move in to the new shed before the end of August .
Frank Pattison, Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes Director, commented: “Social isolation and loneliness amongst older people is a real and growing problem, and there is evidence that this can have a serious impact on the health of those who find themselves in this position, with the consequent effects on health services. Evidence shows that Men In Sheds has a very positive role to play in addressing these issues, and we want to maximise this impact by making this new shed a community hub for the north of the Island.”
Jo Dixon, Chief Executive of Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes, added: “Today’s official opening represents the culmination of three years of hard work, and not just by the Northern Men In Sheds members and Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes. It would not have been possible without tremendous community support from across the north of the Island, so it has been a real team effort. We must say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project, and we look forward to seeing Northern Men In Sheds flourish and making a positive contribution to the future of the communities which have helped to make it happen.”
Mrs Dixon added that the charity was also in the early stages of investigating the possibility of launching a Men In Sheds groups in the East and West of the Island.
Northern Men in Sheds is part of the Northern Live At Home Scheme, which is one of five run by Isle of Man Live At Home Schemes – the others being Laxey and Lonan, Western, Onchan, and Douglas. All of the schemes offer a range of services, including regular social groups, lunch clubs, film clubs, shopping clubs, men’s groups all with transport provided. The charity also offers guidance on how older people can access other support services, and run befriending initiatives in which volunteers make regular visits to an older person to have a chat and a cup of tea, providing friendship and company.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the group on Facebook.
Photo - L-R Frank Pattison, Trustee IOMLAH, Jo Dixon Chief Executive IOMLAH, Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK, David Gawne MBE, Chairman IOMLAH, Roy Kneale, Northern Men in Sheds Coordinator, Kerry Palmer, Manager Northern Live at Home, Mrs Lorraine Quayle, wife of C/M.