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Your Later Life Q4 2020

Adding years to life and life to years

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Charlie Bethel

Chief Officer UK Men’s Sheds Association

Over 15,000 Men attended a Men’s Shed every week before lockdown, where did they all go?

“I’ve been given a second life, I come to my Shed and I can forget about being lonely,” says Bill, who joined a Shed following the death of his wife of 61 years.

But what can you do when lockdown comes crashing down and takes away your social connections?

Combatting loneliness through social interaction

Men’s Sheds are well known for social connectivity, particularly with the older generation. Their research has shown a staggering 96% reduction in loneliness1 after people joined a Shed.

The impact on young and old is remarkable, with the same survey showing a 75% reduction in anxiety. It further indicated an 89% reduction in loneliness across the same sample of people after they joined a Shed.

New ways to support during lockdown

Whilst the physical connections, such as working shoulder to shoulder and a chat over a cup of tea, may have been put on hold, Sheds continued to do their thing during lockdown; looking out for each other.

Men’s Sheds turned their attention from the workbench to their phones, computers and radios as they embarked on a journey of discovery through video and conference calls to keep connected.

Those who couldn’t use smart phones or the internet, have been telephoned regularly or might even attend picnics in the park, weather permitting.

Their research has shown a staggering 96% reduction in loneliness after people joined a Shed

Bringing support to those in need

Sadly, the lack of comradery hits people, such as Tom, whose deterioration through Parkinson’s had paused when he joined Dalbeattie Shed in Kirkcudbrightshire two years ago.

Tom’s passion was the rebuilding of a car called the Skeoch, with his son in law and fellow Shedders.

Lockdown set Tom back and his health deteriorated, much to the concern of his wife and friends.

As Tom couldn’t go to the Shed, his friends decided to bring the Shed to Tom. Tom not only finished the project, but he, himself, was also transformed back to a state of happiness and delight.

Sheds certainly find a way.

1UKMSA Shedder Insight survey 2018

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