Charity that tackles men’s loneliness in North Wales gets grant boost 

A charity that aims to reduce loneliness and isolation in men has been awarded £16,500 by the Steve Morgan Foundation to part-fund a development officer in North Wales.

The Men’s Sheds initiative was first launched in Australia in the early 2000’s to tackle growing concerns of social isolation amongst men.

The organisers identified the high number of men who were suffering from declining mental health and other illnesses as a result of having time on their hands due to retiring, unemployment or illness. In the worst cases it was linked to increasing suicide rates.

Men’s Sheds are community spaces for men to connect, talk and create.

The activities are often similar to those of garden sheds, but for groups of men – known as ‘shedders’ – to enjoy together.

Men’s Sheds are now internationally recognised with the first one opening in Wales in 2013.

Men’s Sheds Cymru now has more than 70 sheds, which are all self-governed, self- supported and sustainable with a small committee; their own individual constitution, their own income and their own premises.

Robert Visintainer is the project manager for Men’s Sheds Cymru and approached the Steve Morgan Foundation to support the role of their North Wales development officer Simon Poole, who oversees 15 different sheds.

The Foundation awarded the charity £16,500 to help cover the cost of the position for one year.

Mr Visintainer said: “Without the Steve Morgan Foundation there wouldn’t be a Men’s Shed development officer in North Wales.

“Simon has got 15 sheds in his patch and each one offers something different.  They provide a place where someone can go whenever they need to.

“Some of the men who attend can live on their own. For some people it replaces the structure they had at work.

“The sheds also benefit wider families as well. The shed is the group and it’s from there that friendships are formed. It really does change lives.”

Activities offered can include woodwork, music, creative writing and photography.

Some of the sheds also have mixed or women-only days.

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