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Monaghan Mens Shed

The description given on the National Association for Mens Sheds website is as follows: A Men’s Shed is any community-based, non-commercial organisation which is open to all men where the primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where the men are able to gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well- being of the participating men. Men’s sheds innovatively share some characteristics of both community education and health promotion projects.
Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions. There has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression.
Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Community Men’s Shed gives a man that safe and busy environment where he can find many of these things in an atmosphere of friendship. And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just come and have a chat and a cuppa if that is all they’re looking for.
There was an Open Day recently and I went along on invitation to find out more about Mens Shed. I saw what was happening and then chatted with Peter Kavanagh to get more details.
Monaghan Mens Shed was the first to be established in the county back in 2012 but now there are a number in the county. It was an ETB project and with assistance from them the Shed was up and running. The original idea came from Australia, where it is very successful, and the whole idea is to give people the opportunity to work together in a common shed instead of being lonely in their own shed at home. Armagh was very helpful in the setting up in Monaghan and as it has a big catchment area the Monaghan Shed is a great success story. In the Shed every one is equal and everyone can make their own decisions. However with big numbers attending there is a wonderful mix of interests and life skills. It is situated at Rooskey on the St. Davnet's Complex and the building and surrounds was provided by the HSE and is now held with a small rent. The HSE is very supportive as is the ETB and Monaghan County Council. The Shed is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 3.30pm. The ETB hold some formal classes in the Shed but each person helps the other when needed. It is a great idea and seems to be working a treat in Monaghan with so many different interests and skills, mixed with friendship, cup of tea, Shed made bread, a chat, a sharing of information, and exposure to new skills, time to relax, go and come as one pleases, and company.