The Preseli Men Shed’s primary aim is to undertake activities that are of interest to the group. Allowing our members more opportunities to exercise, socialise and network in a welcoming and interesting environment will hopefully improve participant’s general health and wellbeing.
The proposed ‘Portrait of Pembrokeshire’ photographic project aims to get participants out and about walking together in Pembrokeshire. It will develop their digital photography skills, increasing their confidence and self esteem and promote the Men’s Shed to encourage wider membership and increased subscriptions. We are keen to make the Shed more sustainable and less reliant on funding in the future.
Discussions have taken place with two organisations working with young people and there is great potential for innovative intergenerational activity in this project with transfer of skills between different age groups allowing greater understanding, awareness and support between the different generations.
The ‘Portrait of Pembrokeshire’ photographic project will:
• Give our members a pastime that will get them out walking in Pembrokeshire. Socialising together and networking will help to address issues around isolation and therefore enhance participant’s mental health, fitness and well being.
• Give our participants the opportunity to learn new skills, developing confidence and self esteem. Having weekly photographic subjects will challenge participants and help develop their photography skills. We are particularly keen that exhibitions planned at the end of project will help achieve these aims and promote the Men’s Shed further helping us to be more sustainable and less reliant on grants in the future.
Men Shed’s ? What? Like in the garden?
Kevin Shales nods, “A larger version of that idea yes. A place for men to get together, socialise and get involved with projects and activities.”
What kind of activities?
“Well we have two spacious modular buildings located at the Old Rail Yard in Letterston. That is a permanent base where almost any activities can take place. There is a lot of know-how among ‘Shedders.’ So far we have fitted out and equipped the facility with a carpentry workshop, an IT and photography suite, a kitchen, craft room and radio room. Anyone can get involved, learn new skills or share their expertise in a safe and friendly place. We have arts based projects, gardening, model making, and wood and metal work.” “We also have regular BBQ’s and a marquee to hold craft fairs and events”.
Anyone ? Don’t you mean just men?
“The Men Sheds model was set up because the population of older men is growing fast. Older men can feel socially isolated and may be reluctant to engage with services that might be able to support them. They are also notorious for not discussing and addressing health issues. The Shed concept tackles ‘health by stealth’. Men Sheds get men together to address isolation, loneliness and health, having said that, the Preseli Shed welcomes women and young adults too, everyone is welcome. In fact we are working with youth groups and other organisations to encourage intergenerational opportunities.”
Over coffee and cake Kevin tells me all about their recent launch, “We were all set up the night before,” he tells me, “ But overnight the wind and the rain invaded the marquee and we had a swamp to clear up before we could open to the public.”
Fortunately, the members pulled together and by twelve o clock everything was ship shape. The event was opened by Paul Harries, Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council and Michelle Bateman, the County Councillor for Letterston. There were stalls and demonstrations from The Remakery, The Fidgeters Craft Group, The Fly Tiers, Sparks at the Shed Radio Group, Point Youth Club, Transition Bro Gwaun, and a number of arts and craft stalls.
Outside, the weather improved as the afternoon went on and Jilly’s Coffee and the Men’s Shed barbecue, supplied with burgers and sausages by the local Letterston butcher, did a roaring trade, and all serenaded by St Davids City Jazz Band.
“It was an opportunity to celebrate our progress over the last two years and bring people in to show them around. We had a lot of interest in our existing projects and gained a number of new members too”.
What are the existing projects?
“ Our amateur radio club, metal and wood projects, I.T , Crafts and our latest, a yearlong photography project entitled North Pembrokeshire Through the Seasons. The latter involves photographic and I.T. workshops to help participants to build their digital photography skills, most importantly it includes trips out and about to enjoy Pembrokeshire, socialise and take photographs. There are also picture framing workshops planned, and the project will culminate in exhibitions to show off the Shedders work and promote the Shed. This project is being funded by Caring Communities Innovation Grant
So what is next?
“ We are keen to hear from members and potential members about what they would like to see taking place at the Shed. We have had requests for I.T tuition and a writing workshop so far and those will be coming shortly.”