There are hundreds of sheds and garages on the Isle of Man, but very few will be as unique as the converted garage in Port Erin which is part of the Men in Sheds initiative.
This scheme was launched in May 2011 based on a concept that was originally developed in Australia as a way of fighting off the high rates of male suicide and depression. The scheme was a roaring success overseas and now other countries are attempting to replicate the benefits.
The scheme offers men who are now in retirement the opportunity to learn new skills and to socialise with other men of their age in a relaxed environment.
Whilst from the outside the converted garage looks unremarkable, inside it is a hive of activity with a dozen “shedders” working on various different projects.
The workshop is filled to the brim with a variety of tools, work benches, cupboards full of equipment and shelves housing the men’s inventions.
Speaking of the scheme, 65-year-old retiree Les Shire who is the project co-ordinator said: “I saw the advert for the project and I thought it looked interesting. I was right.”
When Les lost his wife four years ago the couple were just three years away from retirement and had made many exciting plans for the years to come. However these plans were then thrown into disarray after the loss of his wife.
This project was just what I needed,” he said.
The Port Erin shed is a pilot scheme for the project, which if successful will then be rolled out to other areas of the island. With an increasing number of men now going into retirement on the island, the project is already looking to branch out.
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