You may well be wondering what a Men’s Shed is. Well, It all started in Australia more than 12 years ago when a group of retired men decided to come together to share skills and interests, pursue hobbies and work on community projects; and to give them a place to socialise out with a pub!
Brian, a retired boat builder, visited the STRiVE office in September 2012 and explained that he had been involved in a Men’s Shed in the Lake District and had loved it. He spoke passionately about how he was able to undertake practical activities, and work with his hands but most importantly enjoy the company of other men. We were struck by his enthusiasm and could see that this could work in East Lothian, so STRiVE along with Brian, set up a Men’s Shed.
After our discussions with Brian we carried out various promotional activities which included talking to local groups and organisations, placing articles in the press, appearing on East Coast FM and Radio Scotland, holding workshops to promote the Men’s Shed concept. This culminated in an ‘Open Day’ in April 2013 held at Macmerry Village Hall where four men turned up, liked what they heard and decided to make this happen. When we finally secured funding from Age Scotland in September 2013 this was a real turning point for the shed and it enabled us to take the project forward.
Today there are now 26 members of the shed, which is a fantastic achievement and 26 men now have a different social life and activity to fill their week. The main activities run at Macmerry Men’s Shed are wood working, fly tying and stick dressing. They have made fabulous bird boxes, walking sticks, insect houses, candle holders and bowls. These items are sold, and generate much needed funds to replenish stock and to grow the capability of the Shed. We have recently assisted with a playground makeover for Wallyford Primary School, building raised beds and painting fences.
Last week we held our 1st Birthday Party Celebration, where members of the local community, partner organisations and local councillors arrived to hear about the great work the men are doing.
We would love for more men to be involved, so please feel free to come along. We’re open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 – 4.30pm at Macmerry Village Hall. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and have an amazing cup of tea and cake!