Kingaroy Men's Shed at the 2019 Bacon Fest.
Kingaroy Men's Shed at the 2019 Bacon Fest.

Men’s Shed reopens in time for Men’s Health Week

THIS week is Men’s Health Week and the week is aimed at encouraging local men to look out for themselves before developing any health issues.

Part of this is looking out for your mental health. Luckily for the South Burnett men are able to return to their local Men’s Shed this week.

A Men’s Shed is a place to knock about with a group of mates. It’s a place for friendship, and for a sense of purpose.

Since the 1990s Men’s Sheds have evolved from a few local ‘experiments’ into a truly global phenomenon – all in the name of getting blokes together and resulting in significant health and wellbeing benefits.

With Men’s Sheds around the world closed for a number of months due to COVID-19 and the pandemic, these benefits are now more apparent than ever.

“As we begin to return to our Shed life in Australia, we’re taking this Men’s Health Week as an opportunity to simply acknowledge and celebrate the health benefits – both physical and mental – of the sheer act of visiting the Shed,” said Australian Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer, David Helmers.

The closure of Men’s Sheds has been a contradictory to the fundamental purpose of the movement – which is in the name of preventing social isolation.

To the naked eye Men’s Sheds might seem to be all woodwork and manual crafts, but the environment offers men from all walks of life with the opportunity to participate meaningfully in their local community.

“Around the world men – particularly older men – are finding themselves much healthier and happier through involvement in Men’s Sheds,” said Mr Helmers.

Men’s Sheds make a positive contribution to the Australian community through the prevention of social isolation, the promotion of positive health and wellbeing, and the opportunity for men to participate in their local community, standing shoulder to shoulder.

“After a number of difficult months of social isolation, many men are returning to Men’s Sheds and celebrating,” said Mr Helmers.

During the COVID-19 shut down, the Australian Men’s Shed Association launched new initiatives to help keep older men connected.

The AMSA Shed Online and The Shed Wireless podcast were great success stories to come out of the closure.

“Our online Men’s Shed and The Shed Wireless podcast will remain part of our services to shedders for some time to come – but you can’t beat the sound of machinery and making sawdust amongst mates,” said Mr Helmers.

“Of course the day to day operations of Men’s Sheds must overcome the challenges of adhering to social distancing and hygiene measures, I know that I can speak on behalf of the almost 1200 Men’s Sheds around Australia when I say, it’s just great to be back.”

Men’s Sheds are recognised as part of the Federal Government’s National Men’s Health Strategy 2020 – 2030, acknowledging their role addressing the impacts of social isolation and enhancing proactive approaches to healthy ageing for Australian men.

“The success is in the model – men don’t visit the Shed to improve their health, it’s somewhere to go and something to do.

“Positive health outcomes and community-building are a great by-product,” said Mr Helmers.