Battersea Men In Sheds group tackles loneliness among the elderly by getting them carving and building

Loneliness and depression are being combated nationwide by the emergence of Men in Sheds groups, the latest of which launched in Battersea last week.

The movement, which originated in Australia, enables men to come together socially to undertake practical tasks.

Battersea had its first meeting on Tuesday July 21 at Dimson Lodge in Battersea Church Road, and was attended by 14 enthusiastic whittlers and aspiring carvers.

Sheltered Housing Officer for Wandsworth Council, Geoffrey Cox, spoke of the need for such societies.

He said: “Men are underrepresented in many of the groups that we run. We were looking for a meaningful way to include men in activities.

“We heard about the impact that the Men in Sheds movement had been making across the country and thought we would see if there was an interest for it in Wandsworth.

“Older men are often isolated since retirement especially (but not exclusively) if they live alone.

“We know that isolation can be a major cause of ill-health, both mental and physical, so we hope potential new members get in touch and become part of the project from the very beginning.”

Men In Sheds launch Battersea courtesy of Martin Garside
SHEDLOADS: The launch of the Battersea Men In Sheds group, courtesy of Martin Garside

While the group is mainly targeting men over 55, women are also welcome if they want to take part.

The first project is to build a shed as a group. Some of the participants have more creative ideas such as making recycled garden furniture or bird boxes and repairing boats.

Mr Cox said: “We asked what people wanted from the project and they wanted to work together and meet new people.”

The plan is that the ‘shed’ will become a well-used community resource and that members will work on projects that benefit the community together as well as working on individual projects.

According to UK Men’s Sheds Association, two sheds open every week across the country and there are already 3600 members.

The group is deciding on a time and location for their meetings, but anyone wishing to take part should contact Geoffrey Cox on 020 7223 5335 or email Elaine Curley on [email protected].

Feature image of Les Leahy in Camden, courtesy of Patrick Abrahams via UK Men’s Sheds Association, with thanks

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