Using Teamwork's Men’s Shed has brought me back to the person I used to be

Teamwork has been helping to improve the health and wellbeing of men through the Men’s Shed.

Set up in the Wellingborough centre in May 2018, with funding from the Co-op’s Local Community Fund, the Men’s Shed is part of a rapidly-growing UK-wide initiative to create more community spaces where males – who typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women – can come together to pursue practical interests. 

Trained carpentry teacher, Chris Watts heads up the workshop with a team of volunteers. He says the project is making a real difference to lives. “Providing a place for guys to deal with and share their issues is a beautiful thing,” he said. “It’s brought people from different backgrounds together and they learn how to deal with their feelings and emotions from each other.”

The workshop can take up to five people at a time, who are usually referred by local agencies, counselling providers, or have heard about the project from others.

Making practical items, such as bird boxes, chests, planters, bird feeders and tables enables participants to learn project design, joining techniques, finishing and other valuable skills – while gaining important social interaction along the way.

Dan started attending at the beginning of the project, 10 months ago. He said: “When I first started I was nervous and quiet, but having other people around to support and share things with was nice. Using the Men’s Shed has brought me back to the person I used to be.”

Steve, another participant, said: “Doing this has led me to volunteering, and that could lead me to paid work.”

Two more Men’s Sheds are being planned in Kettering and Corby.