'A fantastic success story' - Men's Shed celebrates new premises
- Credit: Noah Vickers
A group combatting social isolation among men in a Norfolk town opened its new meeting space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in glorious sunshine.
Members of the North Walsham Men’s Shed gathered on the grounds of the town’s Grange care home on Saturday afternoon.
Men’s sheds are community spaces for men to chat with one another and work on DIY projects.
The group had previously met in the backroom of the White Swan pub, until the agreement came to an end when the pub switched hands.
After an appeal was published in this newspaper for spare premises, the care home approached the group.
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North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, who cut the ribbon, said: “They say nobody reads newspapers anymore - well they obviously do, because within 24 hours, this place came up.”
“Resources like this as we come out of the pandemic are going to be absolutely vital. They’ve already got 25 members and they’ve only just opened [again], so it’s a fantastic success story,” said Mr Baker.
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As part of the new arrangement, the group intends to help the care home with repair work and projects, including the planting of a ‘healing garden’.
“To quote Humphrey Bogart in the film Casablanca: this could be the start of a wonderful friendship,” said group chairman Ray Winder.
Mr Winder added that the group has some female members too, and if more expressed an interest, a Ladies Shed could be established.
The group has also received a donation of six laptops, with which they intend to teach members IT skills.
“This is a great initiative and we want to see more like it around the area,” said Martin Booth, chairman of the Campaign for Mental Health Services in North Norfolk.
“The wait to get professional support is far longer than necessary and to have a community-based intervention hopefully will catch some of the flashpoints where people would think of taking their own life,” said North Norfolk council’s mental health champion Lucy Shires.
“That’s the one thing, if I can say to anybody today, if you are having thoughts of suicide, if you are feeling like you can’t push on, reach out to somebody - because today isn’t the end, and it will get better.
The men’s shed will be meeting at the Grange every Tuesday (10am-1pm), Thursday (1pm-4pm) and Saturday (10am-1pm).
The Samaritans helpline can be called on 116 123.