Nearly half a million pounds of lottery funding has been allocated to a UK version of an innovation, popular in Australia, which helps men spend time together and talk. No, not a pub.
The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has allocated 39 grants totalling £7.3 million including £493,138 to Age Concern Cheshire for its 'Men in Sheds' project following a successful pilot scheme in Northwich.
The programme is aimed at supporting men over the age of 50 who have been affected by life-changing events such as bereavement and redundancy and provides an opportunity to socialise and learn practical skills from each other in a supportive environment.
Alex Major of Age Concern Cheshire highlighted the need for more projects involving older men: ‘There are a lot of projects for older people, but they mainly appeal to women and men can feel left out.’
Sanjay Dighe, chair of the BIG England Committee, called Men in Sheds ‘a great example’ of the community-based schemes the organisation seeks to support.
Ken Clemens, also of Age Concern Cheshire, said: ‘The atmosphere in the shed is very informal with men coming together to do activities such as wood working, producing items that are sold to help support the work of the shed - or just to socialize and share time with other men.’
The scheme is partnered with a similar one in Australia where an extensive network already established. Indeed, in May, Australia’s men’s health policy was launched by prime minister Kevin Rudd in a shed in Melbourne. The funding package Rudd announced included $3 million for the Australian Men's Sheds Association.
Ken Clemens went on: ‘this sort of informal male environment has been able to appeal to older men, especially to those who had not previously engaged with services or with voluntary sector agencies.
‘Research tells us that due to well established gender roles older men sometimes find it difficult to establish or maintain networks outside of the family or work, this can lead to men finding it difficult to manage major changes within life’s journey, Men In Sheds is a way of increasing confidence and social networks so that relationships are maintained and mental well being improved.’
Other organisations set to receive BIG grants include the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, North Dorset Age Concern and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Page created on June 17th, 2010
Page updated on June 17th, 2010