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Worcester Men's Shed could provide a lifeline in city

Published on 13 May 2021 11:42 AM

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Worcester Men's Shed could provide a lifeline in city

By Mike Pryce

MANY men of a certain age probably spent at least part of their teenage years going down the local youth club. It’s what you did in the days before the internet and social media brought the world into your bedroom.

It was the place where you met your mates and had a laugh: better than hanging around under the lamppost at the end of the street.

But life moves on and it doesn’t always get any easier. For a start the comfort of social contact can begin to disappear. Indeed during the coronavirus days it might have disappeared altogether, so that’s why a new initiative being launched in Worcester is so important.

The Men’s Shed movement could easily be described as youth clubs for mature blokes and although not strictly accurate, the phrase isn’t that far wide of the mark either.

One of the driving forces behind the setting up of a local Men’s Shed is Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills and chief executive Clare Thomas supplied the back story: “Men’s Sheds originated in Australia in the 1990s. There was a realisation that as men are not as adept as women at sharing their worries and fears, there was very little support for those who suffered loneliness due to loss of a partner, health problems, retirement or sudden unemployment. These can all too easily lead to depression or worse, into mental health issues".

“Men’s Sheds came about to provide a place where men could meet others in similar circumstance, make new friends while getting involved in projects for the community. It’s in this atmosphere that men are far more likely to share their issues to their mutual benefit.”

Of course the idea is all very well, but you have to find a suitable location and in Worcester that’s turned out to be the undercroft of St Clement’s church in Henwick Road, St John’s, near the railway level crossing.

Clare added: “At present this space is only suitable for storage, but a very dedicated group of volunteers are converting it into work areas, a social/rest area and a small kitchen, all while respecting the environment and the church community. However, the project is not without its challenges. There are no toilet facilities and no connection to water; sloping ground and no flooring, to name a few.”

Undaunted the 'shedders' are working with the diocese to create a facility for the whole community.

As well as just dropping in for a natter, members will be able to take part in a whole range of activities, from woodwork and making and repairing items, to upcycling furniture and bikes.

In addition to the physical results, such as  making goods to sell or refurbishing items for other community groups, the Shed will aim to help make positive changes to people’s lives by providing learning and skill development opportunities and encouraging people to come together to combat social isolation.

It is hoped Worcester Men’s Shed will be open later in the summer and in the meantime information can be obtained via Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills on 01905 724294 or 01684  560666.

Clare pointed out: “The shed has already been supported by Worcester City Council and other grant givers, but there is still a long way to go to raise the extra funding and hopefully in partnership with other funders, local businesses and individuals, we can source equipment, tools, and materials.”

So there you are, a Men’s Shed for Worcester. You might not necessarily be guaranteed Gene Vincent on the jukebox or feel the need to wear your Sixties Mod jacket or your Seventies flares, but it could just be the lifeline a lot of men – and there are 17,000 over-50s in the city – need right now.

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