Project to tackle men’s mental health issues through woodworking and friendships

Colin Gambrill helped set up Thundersley Men’s Shed

A new program helping men cope with social isolation through carpentry will be open to Thundersley residents next month.

Thundersley Men’s Shed will open for an open house on April 28 after more than two years of waiting to start the project due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The project aims to get mainly older men out of the house and learn new skills in order to make friends after retirement and create new social groups.

Colin Gambrill, 68, helped set up the shed. He says the project will originally hold sessions for residents every Monday and Thursday in hopes of eventually securing work commissioned by members of the public or local organizations.

He said: “The men’s sheds serve as welcoming and safe projects for men in the local community who may be at risk or suffering from social isolation or loneliness.

“Men often struggle especially at this time due to the loss of the routine they had, the social connections at work and the skills they potentially acquired over a long career.”

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“Men’s sheds are very popular. I have nine potential members coming to me from Rayleigh because they can’t fit them in.

He added: ‘It’s a socially constraining thing for men to get them out of the house and get them to make friends.

Sponsored by the Carers Choices charity, the hangar is large enough for six attendees, while there’s more space to hold workshops for even more outdoors when the weather permits.

While residents will be helped on their journey to learning new skills, Mr Gambrill said he was just happy if some came over for coffee and a chat with new friends.

He added; “We have been trying to prepare it for two and a half years now. Covid kind of sidelined us for a year not being able to do anything because of the lockdown but we’re getting there.

“Traditionally, men won’t talk about their feelings in social situations for fear of social stigma. Having an environment where men can participate with many other members of the same age and like-mindedness creates a space where men are much more likely to talk openly about their feelings or any issues they may be facing.


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