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The Men's Shed is open

The Men's Shed is open

Friday 22 November 2019

The Men's Shed is open

Friday 22 November 2019


The Men's Shed is now officially open, and has already seen an increase in visitor numbers with men young and old seeking company, conversation and a chance to learn some new skills.

Launched in conjunction with Male Uprising Guernsey, the facility is aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of men who head out west to join others at the shed.

The shed itself is off Route de Plaisance, in a quiet part of the island, next door to the Edible Guernsey facility.

men's shed

Pictured: Men's Shed is easily found off Route de Plaisance. 

Marcel Lenormand has been involved with Men's Shed for three years already. He first became interested in the idea of setting one up in Guernsey after a TedX talk at the Thrive Guernsey event in 2012.

Since then it's been a long, slow process to get the shed 'off the ground', but the team of committed volunteers have done it and it officially opened last weekend, with more than a hundred guys popping along for a look on Saturday 16 November.

Mr Lenormand, who is the Shed Manager, or the 'Shedder General', said the aim of the Shed is simple.

"It's a place where men can gather, have access to tools, to fix, make, mend, do, invent, and chat and socialise and drink tea."

Marcel Lenormand

Pictured: Marcel Le Normand is using the Men's Shed to work on another community project.

Men's mental health has been the focus of international media coverage this year, and Mr Lenormand said the Shed is another place where men can go to seek help or support if they want to.

"There's a big problem, particularly for retired men, and people who are out of work, to be sitting watching daytime telly, and that's a very nasty place to find yourself...isolation is a big problem. Men don't necessarily respond in the same way that women do to the opportunity to 'talk about your mental health'. For some guys that works, brilliantly, but for a lot of guys, just sitting and talking about it is a pretty alien concept.

"What we offer here is a place where you can come and do stuff, and it's in the process of doing stuff, shoulder to shoulder with someone else, that you develop relationships and friendships and there's banter and there's jokes and knowledge sharing. You teach someone what you know, and they teach you something that you don't know, and through that you've combatted isolation and you've given someone a purpose, you've covered a lot of ground."

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Pictured: The idea of Men's Shed is that men can work together on projects, sharing skills, and talking about their lives if they wish. 

The Men's Shed has been kitted out with a variety of tools and there are already community projects and independent pieces of work on the go. Mr Lenormand said anyone is welcome to go and join in.

"There are people out of work, and even in work, who find themselves in all sorts of situations, and there is no age limit to this."

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Pictured: A number of tools, and other pieces of equipment have been bought for the Men's Shed - most paid for through fundraising initiatives which will be ongoing. 

The equipment available for use includes a wood working lathe, a welder, table saws, a metal working lathe and various other items.

The area is being shared with Makerspace, another charity aimed at fixing, making and reusing items. 

Men's Shed is fundraising to pay for the building and to do some other work to it, while Makerspace is fundraising to pay for the tools. 

Anyone who wants to go and visit Men's Shed can visit on Wednesdays from 14:00 or on Saturday's from 10:00.

Mr Lenormand said you can just "rock up":

"(There are) bacon butties at 12:30 (Saturdays) for anyone who turns up. It's a touch point so even if you can't stop and do anything, you've got to eat so come and have a bacon butty and a chat."

Around a dozen people have been regularly visiting on Saturdays, leading up to the official open day last weekend, with around a hundred visiting then and more turning up on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Lenormand said they've been pleased to see new faces, and more are welcome.

"There will still be some people out there who, coming to a new place and a new bunch of faces, will find that daunting. I would encourage them to get in touch, and I'll meet them outside if necessary to get them through the door, and from there they can take their time and quietly meet a few faces.

"Some people, what we've said, is enough to get them in the door. There'll be some other people who need a helping hand to get in the door."

For more information on the Men's Shed, call Mr Le Normand on 07781143641 or visit the Men's Shed Facebook. 

Pictured top: Marcel Lenormand working at the Men's Shed. 

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