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Suffolk’s Men’s Sheds Movement tackles care home isolation.

Volunteers from Suffolks Men’s Sheds have joined forces with Carlton Hall Residential Home in Carlton Colville to offer their residents the chance to experience the wonderful world of Men’s Sheds and become fully-fledged ‘Shedders’!

The Suffolk Men’s Sheds project is facilitated by Community Action Suffolk (CAS) and is a network of community spaces operating in various venues, offering different activities. These are enjoyed by men and women where sessions are arranged to share valuable skills, encourage new friendships while supporting local communities by creating or repairing items.

National data from the UK Men’s Shed Association (UKMSA) has often highlighted that some men find the care home environment challenging and can become withdrawn, leaving them feeling isolated and at risk of depression. Once aware of this a passionate team of Men’s Shed Volunteers from Lowestoft and Kirkley joined forces with Carlton Hall Residential Home in Carlton Colville to trial a pilot project called ‘Aims that Still Remain’.

The project aims to bring all the benefits of the Men’s Shed movement to residents in care homes. Carlton Hall Residential Home was visited by local volunteer shedders who established an inclusive programme of events for residents. The 10 strong group of volunteers were able to share the joys of shedding and give residents a taste of what it is like to be a member of a Men’s Shed. The visits gave four residents the confidence to try the Men’s Shed for real, leaving their home to spend some time with other ‘shedders’. The results were amazing for all involved.

Carlton Hall Residential Home activities lead Hannah commented that the impact of the collaboration between her male residents and the ‘Shedders’ have been enormously positive, she stated that “there was a noticeable uplift with the mood and behaviours” of the residents, they “felt a real feeling of inclusion and felt valued”. Talking with the Shedders helped with other skills, such as memory retrieval, with residents fondly reminiscing their own skill sets, hobbies, and work practices.

Keith Shiels, Men’s Sheds Advisor at Community Action Suffolk hopes that this is just the start of an ongoing partnership between Men’s Sheds and local care homes. Keith explained “All parties feel that the model that has started should be shared with other Sheds and Care Homes.” Hannah Reid, Chief Executive at CAS explained “We were thrilled to see the results of this partnership, it is clear that the Men’s Sheds movement brings so many benefits to those involved and it is evident that it could really make a difference to those in a residential setting too, we look forward to seeing where this initiative may go”

Suffolks’ Men’s Shed project operates all across Suffolk, they offer both men and women an opportunity to learn and share skills, creates friendships and gives a real sense of purpose to those involved. More information about Men’s Sheds can be found here