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21 May 2017
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Our Readers Write......

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Menís Shed Lucan

Menís Shed Lucan is a recently formed group and is a member of the Irish Menís Sheds Association (IMSA). Our motto, first said in Australia in 2007, is Men donít talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder. It is this type of simple and perceptive vision that resonates most with people when they first hear about Menís Sheds; especially people who may be wondering why and how Menís Sheds work.

A Menís Shed offers something new and very inclusive for most men, men who have their own shed typically develop their skills and interests there. In a larger facility, with better and additional equipment, they can develop more broadly and be involved with challenging projects or community commissions. The central tenet of Menís Sheds Lucan is that we strive to provide a place in which all men have the opportunity to maintain and improve their well-being on their own terms and in their own community. A place where they can talk about things that are important to them and improve their wellbeing by being physically, mentally and socially active. We believe in the dignity, uniqueness and equality of every person and we particularly seek to promote the development of men in a society where too many men fail to reach their potential. To that end, we are working to ensure that men in Lucan have the opportunity to improve and maintain their health and well-being by participating in a community Menís Shed. We believe each Menís Shed group should realise their potential in their own way and take responsibility for and ownership of their individual aims and projects. And, as far as possible, each group should retain full autonomy regarding its works and projects. We see the passing on of skills, traditional and new, as a core aspect and each man is encouraged to see himself as a teacher and a learner in their group. Each man brings his own skills and limitations to his group and these should be fully respected and acknowledged by his peers and the group. We put great emphasis on informal learning, relaxed not muddled, and we seek to create an atmosphere of Ďdoing stuff together, learning while having funí.

Choosing what they want to do, whether working on their own project with minimal demands or having a cuppa and a chat with others, can be exactly what many men need and will benefit from. Menís Shed Lucan intends to provide a place of belonging, of participatory democracy, mutual respect and companionship for all shedders.

Currently Menís Shed Lucan consists of a start-up group of some 14 men (and also several fantastic women advisors); we have great ambitions but lack a key item for a successful Menís Shed group -we have no premises, no place to meet as shedders. Our proposal to South Dublin County Council (SDCC), to convert the old Caretakerís cottage at Esker cemetery, has been short-listed for SDCCís ďHave Your SayĒ public vote and we are asking all in Lucan to support us -whether you have a friend, brother, husband, father, grandfather or uncle who could benefit, please vote for our project, Menís Shed at Esker Cemetery, Lucan.

The Menís Shed movement began in Australia in 2007 when a group of men realised the value of coming together around practical tasks on a regular basis, particularly if they had a designated place or workshop where tools and work in progress could be stored. This appeals to men of all ages both living alone or with partners, though the majority of shedders are at or beyond retirement date. For many men this transitional period in life not only brings a loss of a work role but also of identity, status, workmates, income and possibly a sense of purpose. If the pub or sport is not their thing some men can find themselves disengaged from their community. The general community activities on offer may not appeal to some men and as they expect to meet their own needs some level of social isolation can develop.

There are now more almost 1,000 Sheds in Australia, some 300 in Ireland and hundreds more in England, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Canada and Denmark, with new interest being expressed from many other countries. Research worldwide points in particular to the health and well-being benefits of men coming together.

The IMSA was formed in January 2011 and is a member-based organisation which maintains links with & shares information between the Irish network of some 300 Menís Sheds. It also acts as a representative body, carrying the message & ethos of menís sheds onto the national stage and international stages. The Australian Menís Shed Association (AMSA), the first and original, was established in 2007; it now supports some 1,000 Menís Sheds and is recognised as a hugely successful male-based community development organisation. Since 2007 European and International Menís Shed associations have been formed plus myriad national associations.

Again, please support Menís Shed Lucan by voting for our project, ĒMenís Shed at Esker Cemetery, LucanĒ in SDCCís Have Your Say public vote, May 22nd Ė 26th.

17th May 2017: the above is a short description of what Menís Sheds is about, what the current key aims are for Menís Shed Lucan plus a brief history of the movement.
By Eamon Brennan.