Men’s Shed Project is a hit Down Under

Men's Shed members enjoying their shed.
Men's Shed members enjoying their shed.

A CHARITY is set to have its work recognised by academics on the other side of the world.

The East Durham Trust’s CREE Men’s Shed Project will have a section devoted to it in a book on men’s mental health by Australian Professor Barry Golding.

Men’s Shed is an established movement in Australia, based on providing men with meaningful activity who might otherwise be socially excluded.

Trust chief executive Malcolm Fallow said: “Australia leads the way in this branch of social inclusion and mental wellbeing so it’s a real achievement for the work in our part of the world to be recognised this way – I guess it’s a bit like selling sushi to the Japanese. This is welcome recognition for the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard over the years and I would pay particular tribute to the public health staff who saw the potential of this kind of work in the first place.”

The project was started as a response to the closure of traditional industries and the loss of social facilities which has limited the contact between men.

County Durham health professionals engaged with the East Durham Trust to set up “sheds” in a selection of pit villages.

The groups get participants involved in various activities and provide a friendly atmosphere for informal discussion.

Such is the success of the sheds that they are now available to women and young people too.

The project has already gained national recognition, winning an award in London in 2013, but their influence looks set to go global.

Professor Golding’s book is called Shoulder to Shoulder: The Men’s Shed Movement and will be published in October.

For more information on the sheds visit www.eastdurhamtrust.org.uk or contact Lisa Rooks at lisa.rooks@eastdurhamtrust.org.uk or call (0191) 5693511.