Meet the team hoping to bring 'friendly' Men's Shed to Suffolk town

An action group is hoping to bring a Men's Shed to Bury St Edmunds

An action group is hoping to bring a Men's Shed to Bury St Edmunds - Credit: COMMUNITY ACTION SUFFOLK

Calls are being made to set up a Men’s Shed - aimed at stopping people becoming socially isolated or ‘cut-off’ from their communities - in one of Suffolk’s largest towns.

Originally started in Australia, 10 sheds have opened up across the county in recent years - and now there is a grassroots campaign in Bury St Edmunds to establish one for the west Suffolk community.

Charity chiefs at Community Action Suffolk say Men’s Sheds are a place for men and women to connect, converse and create.

The centres, which allow communities to work together on specific work projects and interact socially with others, stem from an idea originating from the other side of the world - where it was noted that men’s social circles tend to revolve around their workplace. 

Any separation from such a circle - for instance through redundancy, retirement or ill health - can result in feeling “cut off”, socially isolated and vulnerable, leading to physical and mental health problems, a lack of self-esteem, and a loss of a sense of purpose.

Inspired by the concept, Bury resident Andrew Caldecott is part of a group looking to set up a Men’s Shed in the town - with an open meeting to discuss the prospect earmarked for early September.

“Bury St Edmunds is the largest town in Suffolk currently without a Men’s Shed,” he said. 

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“It was needed even before the pandemic, and how much more so now, given what we have all been through. 

“A Men’s Shed for Bury would be an easy-going and friendly way for anyone who has been isolated over the past year or more to re-engage with the community, reactivate a sense of purpose and enjoy themselves… and you never know, you may learn new skills and make new friends on the way.”

Alan Page, an ambassador for the UK Men’s Shed Association, stressed that the facility is not simply about a building.

Halesworth Men's Shed opened in 2015.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Halesworth Men's Shed opened in 2015. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

“The Shed is really the people who take part in it, and they work together to meet the challenge of finding a venue, equipping it, and deciding what activities it will do,” he said. 

Those interested in getting involved should contact Jonny Wood at Community Action Suffolk via email or on 01473 345335.

More information about Men’s Sheds can be found online.

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