Men’s Health Week – Minister Swann and Chief Medical Officer Visit Men’s Shed

Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the positive benefits Men’s Shed have for Men’s Health during a visit to a North Belfast project.

Accompanied by Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride the Minister met some of the 20 men who use the shed and benefit from its invaluable work with similar projects to improve the health and wellbeing of communities across Northern Ireland.

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured today at North Belfast Men’s shed. Minister was visiting the North Belfast Men’s Shed to mark Men’s Health Week which runs from today until Father’s Day on Sunday

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “As we mark Men’s health Week (June 13 to 17) it is great to see how well this project scheme is supported by local men and I am very grateful for the opportunity to visit the North Belfast Men’s Shed.

“Speaking with those who use these facilities it is obvious these initiatives are benefiting the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of men and having a positive impact on the communities from which they come.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “Many men are reluctant to talk about health issues and their mental health, or seek professional help so schemes like this are a good place to start the conversation and share their experiences and learn from each other.”

Aidan Dawson, Chief Executive of the PHA said: “North Belfast Men’s Shed is an excellent example of the work undertaken by the sheds across Northern Ireland and the Minister and Chief Medical Officer’s visit is an opportunity to demonstrate how the various projects benefit the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of the men as well as benefiting their communities.

“The Men’s Shed movement supports key PHA priorities of tackling health inequalities, reducing isolation and loneliness, and promoting positive mental health through the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing to: Connect, Take Notice, Stay Active, Give and Learn.”

Men’s Sheds provide a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practise skills and revisit previous hobbies, from woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring electronics to gardening. They also offer a valuable space for connecting with others in a relaxed environment.

Health Minister Robin Swann, CMO Professor Michael McBride and (centre) Joe McCusker chairman of the North Belfast Men’s shed

Rachel Toner, Community Development Lead at Groundwork NI said: “Men’s Sheds provide a renewed sense of purpose for the members or ‘shedders’, as they like to be known, by providing a safe space where men can open up and connect with others.

“Men’s Sheds are vital community organisations, and they have a massive impact on the health and wellbeing of members. They have played a vital role in allowing individuals to reconnect with others and instilling a sense of identity and belonging to help carry them through, even in the midst of the recent global pandemic.

“Sheds provide opportunities for improved health and wellbeing of the members. The men make friends, learn new skills, and can often find a renewed sense of purpose by giving back to their communities. Sheds not only have a positive impact on the members but also on their family and on those round them.”

To find out more about Men’s Sheds and how to join one close to where you live, or  if  you are thinking about starting a shed in your area – contact Groundwork NI for support and practical advice on how to do this.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) funds Groundwork NI to help support over 80 Men’s Sheds across Northern Ireland.

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