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Men’s Sheds Praised in Scottish Parliament

The invaluable contribution of Men’s Sheds to the wellbeing of men was praised in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 16th of June 2022.

In a debate on motion S6M-03064, in the name of Christine Grahame, on “Men Don’t Talk” the work of Men’s Sheds all across Scotland was highlighted.

Christine Grahame, SNP, MSP, spoke of the Men’s Sheds in the constituency she represents and of the play   “Men Don’t Talk” by Clare Prenton which was inspired by the Peebles men’s shed members.

Christine Grahame said:

“Men talk there, and the play explores what they talk about, including a range of small, medium and large issues. By “large”, I mean issues of loneliness, bereavement, dementia and so on—all discussed while they hammer away at bird boxes, planters and garden benches that are mostly for community use, accompanied, of course, by the obligatory cups of tea and coffee and biscuits.”

There are 201 Men’s Sheds in Scotland – 129 of which are fully open – and the others in development.

Christine Grahame also highlighted Orkney Men’s Shed and that of the one in Sanday.

“A hard-working team of volunteers led by Morgan Harcus has quickly enabled Orkney men’s shed to prove its worth to members and the wider community. The concept is making its way north of the Galt, with plans for the Sanday men’s shed well advanced. “

Orkney Constituency MSP, Liam McArthur, LibDem was chairing the debate but afterwards he said:

“The Men’s Shed movement has been a largely undersung success story.  It has made a life-changing impact on ‘shedders’ around the world, providing a sense of purpose and community and benefitting the communities in which Sheds have been established.

“This has been perfectly illustrated in Orkney where the Men’s Shed community and popularity continue to grow.  Following a period of uncertainty, the Orkney Men’s Shed now has a new permanent home in Stromness.  Meanwhile, north of the Galt, great progress is being made on the Sanday Men’s Shed, which it is hoped will open its doors later this year.  It was a pleasure to visit the site in Kettletoft last week and speak to some of those involved in this fantastic initiative.  They have put in a huge amount of effort and deserve enormous credit for what they’ve been able to do.

“Hopefully, this can provide inspiration and a model for other islands.  The risks of isolation and poor mental health are ones shared across our island communities, all of which could benefit from the approach taken by the Men’s Shed movement, albeit tailored to meet individual circumstances, demand and personalities.  

“As we emerge from the pandemic, Men’s Sheds offer an excellent way to bring our communities together.  Their positive contribution could not be more important or timely and they deserve our full support, especially through greater funding.”

Funding, as with all community organisations, is an issue for Men’s Sheds. The Association had hoped for a 3 year funding package but has only been to be awarded it for 1 year.

MSPs from all political parties in the Chamber indicated their support for Men’s Sheds. So many wanted to contributed to the work of Men’s Sheds in their areas that the debate had to be extended by 30 minutes.

You can watch the full debate here:

This is the text of the motion:

“That the Parliament recognises the work that has gone into producing the one-act play, Men Don’t Talk, by Clare Prenton, who is based in Peebles; understands that Clare based this play on the experiences of those involved with Peebles Men’s Shed and conducted a number of workshops with members to inform the storyline, which was written and developed over two years; further understands that it explores the myth that men do not talk, in a fictional Men’s Shed setting, discussing such issues as loneliness, alcoholism and recovery, loss of a life partner, caring for a partner with dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from previous service in the Armed Forces, and where the next supply of jaffa cakes is coming from; notes that this was made possible by funding from the Peebles-based charity, Inspiring Life—Evie Douglas Memorial Fund, which was set up by Freda Douglas in memory of her daughter Evie; congratulates those involved, on the play coming to fruition in January 2022, with a rehearsed reading at The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles, employing a professional cast of three actors and the services of one local amateur, who helped with the stage direction, in front of an audience of over 70 people; believes that projects such as this celebrate community collaboration and are an important part of raising awareness of issues around mental health, particularly among those in society who may be less comfortable in engaging in conventional support for this, and considers that organisations such as Men’s Sheds are a vital support for many in Scotland’s communities.”

Related link: “It felt awesome to be back together as a Shed” Orkney Men’s Shed Update

Click on this link: Orkney Men’s Shed Facebook Page

A place for everything and everything in its place Orkney Men’s Shed