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politics

Orkney Men’s Shed praised in Scottish Parliament

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur.

The success of the Orkney’s Men’s Shed was raised during a Members’ Debate in Scottish Parliament, by the county’s MSP Liam McArthur, earlier this week.

Praising the work of the charity on Thursday Mr McArthur praised the work of the charity on Thursday, highlighting the benefits in terms of reducing the risk of loneliness and isolation or even poor mental health.

The MSP also took the opportunity to repeat his call for ministers to look at the possibility of Men’s Sheds bidding for health and social care funding, as happens in Australia, where the movement began back in the 1980s.

Men’s sheds are designed as a meeting and doing places for men who want to meet new folk, make new friends, learn new skills and socialise. Those behind the charity said it is well-known that men find it harder to admit to problems and seek help at an early stage, but the camaraderie of the Men’s Shed is helping to overcome this resistance.

Despite the success of Orkney Men’s Shed and the growing popularity of the movement across Scotland, Mr McArthur suggested that they remain a “largely unsung success story”.  The MSP described the work the organisation does as “life-changing” for its members, providing a sense of purpose and an opportunity to make friends and share company.

Speaking after the debate, Mr McArthur said: “The Men’s Shed movement has been a tremendous success over recent years with the number of Sheds and ‘Shedders’ across the country continuing to grow. This is illustrated perfectly in Orkney, where the local Men’s Shed is going from strength to strength, with membership up to 140 and plans for expansion of the shed in Finstown.

“Every Men’s Sheds is different, of course, but all provide a place to work and relax, pursue hobbies, share skills, have a cuppa and a chat and get practical help with projects. This should not disguise, however, the real impact Men’s Sheds can and do have. Increasingly it is recognised that these facilities make a tangible difference in efforts to tackle loneliness, social isolation and mental ill health.

“Last month, I urged the government to look at the case for allowing Men’s Sheds to bid in for health and wider social care funding. This is the approach in Australia, where the movement started, and there are strong arguments for assessing if the same might be done in this country. This could help sustain and expand Men’s Sheds, providing more people in Scotland with the chance to access the many benefits they deliver”.

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