Last Sunday saw the launch of Preseli Men’s shed in Letterston and despite the weather was a big hit with local people.
“Men’s Shed’s have been set up all over Wales, facilitated by Men’s Shed Cymru, as the population of older men is growing fast and men are finding themselves increasingly isolated,“ Kevin Shales, chairman of the Preseli Men’s Shed told us.
“ The project aims primarily to bring older men together, to socialise, share expertise, and learn new skills”.
The project is based at The Old Station Yard in Letterston, SA62 5RY. It has a fully equipped IT and photography suite, workshops and a radio room, craft room and remakery and doesn’t just welcome men. “We are fully inclusive, Kevin said, “We welcome women and we are keen to get involved in intergenerational projects.”
Funded by the Big Lottery, The Preseli Men’s Shed has big plans for the future, these include the continuation of its photography project, PEMBROKESHIRE THROUGH THE SEASONS, I.T tuition, wood work projects and creative writing. They are keen to welcome new members and encourage new skills and ideas.
For more information and how to join contact the Secretary at email@example.com or go to their Preseli Men’s Shed FaceBook page or visit the website .
Pembrokeshire Life Online sent Snorkelfish to find out more…….
Men Shed’s? What? Like in the garden?
Kevin Shales nods, “A larger version of that idea yes. A place for men to get together, socialise and get involved with projects and activities.”
What kind of activities?
“Well, we have two spacious modular buildings located at the Old Rail Yard in Letterston. That is a permanent base where almost any activities can take place. There is a lot of know-how among ‘Shedders.’ So far we have fitted out and equipped the facility with a carpentry workshop, an IT and photography suite, a kitchen, craft room and radio room. Anyone can get involved, learn new skills or share their expertise in a safe and friendly place. We have arts based projects, gardening, model making, and wood and metal work.” “We also have regular BBQ’s and a marquee to hold craft fairs and events”.
Anyone? Don’t you mean just men?
“The Men Shed’s model was set up because the population of older men is growing fast. Older men can feel socially isolated and may be reluctant to engage with services that might be able to support them. They are also notorious for not discussing and addressing health issues. The Shed concept tackles ‘health by stealth’. Men Shed’s get men together to address isolation, loneliness and health, having said that, the Preseli Men’s Shed welcomes women and young adults too, everyone is welcome. In fact we are working with youth groups and other organisations to encourage intergenerational opportunities.”
Over coffee and cake Kevin tells me all about their recent launch, “We were all set up the night before,” he tells me, “But overnight the wind and the rain invaded the marquee and we had a swamp to clear up before we could open to the public.”
Fortunately, the members pulled together and by twelve o clock everything was ship shape. The event was opened by Paul Harries, Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council and Michelle Bateman, the County Councillor for Letterston.
There were stalls and demonstrations from The Remakery, The Fidgeters Craft Group, The Fly Tiers, Sparks at the Shed Radio Group, Point Youth Club, Transition Bro Gwaun, and a number of arts and craft stalls.
Outside, the weather improved as the afternoon went on and Gilly’s Coffee and the Men’s Shed barbecue, supplied with burgers and sausages by the local Letterston butcher, did a roaring trade, and all serenaded by St Davids City Jazz Band.
“It was an opportunity to celebrate our progress over the last two years and bring people in to show them around. We had a lot of interest in our existing projects and gained a number of new members too”.
What are the existing projects?
“Our amateur radio club, metal and wood projects, I.T, Crafts and our latest, a
Yearlong photography project entitled North Pembrokeshire Through the Seasons. The latter involves photographic and I.T. workshops to help participants to build their digital photography skills, most importantly it includes trips out and about to enjoy Pembrokeshire, socialise and take photographs. There are also picture framing workshops planned, and the project will culminate in exhibitions to show off the Shedders work and promote the Men’s Shed. This project is being funded by Caring Communities Innovation Grant.
So what’s next?
“We are keen to hear from members and potential members about what they would like to see taking place at the Shed. We have had requests for I.T tuition and a writing workshop so far and those will be coming shortly.”
Sounds exciting. How do people sign up?
“We have the Preseli Men’s Shed Face book page and a website if people want more information
The membership subscription is £5 per year, this is however being review in October but it won’t rise by much. We want to ensure The Shed is affordable for everyone who wants to come here and enjoy it.”
“Oh by the way”, Kevin adds, “Tell people to look out for our promotional video. I mustn’t forget to mention that we have been funded by The Big Lottery.”