Paul Kernan took the initiative and started a new Men’s Shed in Donegal only 3 months ago and was surprised how much interest and support he got. The Shed is already up and running, ready for more members to come along.
From your own perspective: What is the Men’s Shed all about?
The Men’s Shed is a social and supportive group of local men FOR local men.
Because we recognised that there was a need to target, engage and support men in a way that they could take leadership and control of the project for themselves.
Tell us about about how you got started with the Men’s Shed
We got started in early spring of 2017 by just hosting a few meetings of interested people and then organised a public meeting in May to launch the idea and inform as many people as possible. Over 20 people attended. At that meeting we decided to go straight ahead and establish the Men’s Shed. We agreed to meet every Monday morning at 11am, and elected a steering group to get things going over the summer months and organise a general meeting in the autumn.
We were lucky that we could set up the Shed in a very special place: a beautiful old store building that was built during the Famine in 1847.
The Pobail le Chéile, the local Community Development Project (CDP) have given us a TÚS worker for a few hours per week to help promote us, set up mailing lists and organise visits to other sheds as well as get us registered with the County Council and the Irish Men’s Shed Association. Within 4 weeks we had over thirty men on the list.
We are located (mainly) within the Gaeltacht so we chose a name that reflected our townlands in both Irish and English – Bothán na bhFear Cloich Cheann Fhaloa – Cloughaneely Men’s Shed. The catchment area has a population of about 5,000.
What’s the difference you are hoping to make by running a Men’s Shed?
We want to create a space and a place together that is open for and welcoming to all local men, that is supportive, inclusive and fun!
Tell us about something that surprised you after starting the Men’s Shed?
I didn’t expect that level of local support – both from the men and the wider community.
Is there a motto that you love and that drives you to just get things done?
Get moving… it’s another day!
Which other ideas would you like to see in your community?
I’d like to see something like a ‘Women’s Craft skills exchange’ and a fun and friendly Irish Language Conversation Club.