Norwich Men’s Shed
Taking a big step was made easier thanks to the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund
For many people, it takes courage to take a step into the unfamiliar. A major objective of Norwich Men’s Shed is to advance the wellness and health of members by reducing isolation and increasing social engagement. Roberta, who runs the shed, wanted to make it easier for people to approach the shed, so sought funding from the us and East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund. The funding has meant that not only has the shed been able to run open days, inviting local people to join them at their site on Pitt Street, but have also gone out into the local community to host workshops.
We visited the Men’s shed on one of their open days, as well as one of their workshops in the community.
At their open day on 20th May, the Shed offered taster sessions to people young and old. Being able to approach the shed as a visitor, rather than as a prospective member, meant that many people who otherwise might not have engaged with the Shed’s work felt welcome and we able to take a step into the unfamiliar more confidently. One man said he’d been going past every day for 3 years, but it was only because of the open day that he felt able to go in and find out what it’s all about.
Two weeks later, we visited The Phoenix Centre. Children and families were invited to create bird puppets, each assisted by a volunteer from the shed. Programmes Advisor Jo Maddocks said:
“It was delightful to see the Shedders so engaged with the families who came in, and the children were so engrossed in what they were doing – it was a huge success. It was also brilliant to see the different generations getting along and working together – with the older men chatting to both the children and the parents, and vice versa”. The Men’s Shed has also recently re-designed the exterior notice board there.
Men’s Sheds create an atmosphere where men can not only share skills, but open up about other worries and issues going on in their life. Men who become isolated in later life are often thought of as the Shed’s only demographic, but men of all ages (and women, too!) are benefitting from what the Shed can offer. Norwich Men’s Shed is just as important for a sense of physical wellbeing as it is a space for making and creating within a community. Learn more about the Shed here.