What Do You Do with Men? & What Do Men Do?

We’ll move to the second question during the course of this week – men and women Shedders in fact. For now, what do you do with men!

All imagesThe question is one that Norton Shed is raising in order to address the needs of men’s wellbeing in ways other than the Sheds. The link https://normens.org.uk/?p=2257  is to the current Norton blog where three Sheds in NE have been asked by a funder to dream bigger and broader for men’s support.

Hartlepool, Norton and the brand new Stockton Men’s Shed are to pool thoughts in  early autumn. We are looking for any thoughts on what to do with men (Elaine must have some ideas surely).

It is something serious and if you want to put forward your thoughts to the questionnaire in the Norton blog (feel free to tackle it anyway you wish). It is just a discussion starter. In some ways it is the thinking underlying the Whitby Doing Place.

Whitby Town Shed and Doing Place

A very productive day in terms of giving the place some uplift. 

Painting the Gents, installing dust extraction, needlework, Krampus, clearing carboard into bins, a chat with Colin on WhatsApp using a big screen and a mobile camera. 

A Krampus Krew member who is also a Whitby Pirate!

Marie proudly displays her C&G workpiece

Betty the Bin Lady loves dealing with cardboard

Aiden installed the dust extraction freestanding. but next is to mount on the walls

Ray reading instructions, with dust extraction tubes against the window.

Betty and Rob posing in the Gents. Floor painting next

Krampus armbands being fabricated using a cut stencil and spray paint.  That’s creativity.

Aiden nibbles copper plate to make bands for Krampus. This drew quite an audience.

Colin said later how he had felt part of the Shed atmosphere.

Whitby Town Men’s Shed and Norton Men’s Shed are both taking opportunities to work with NHS in specialist projects

The Sheds have worked with Living Well from day 1 and later with Social Prescriber Link Workers for nearly 8 years. Some of the best Shedders have come as introductions from those sources because they had needs they owned up to and were measuring their ow wellbeing improvement journeys. The voluntary sectors in non stigma mode offers a lot to mental health services. However, the NHS working with the volunteer led, volunteer inspired groups is novel and needs innovation mind sets.  

We have been pointed to some case study accounts, one of which is below.



Sheds are at the sharp end of being there when people welcome some support

But we are not THE solution. We are a part of solutions . Read this conclusion from an NHS study on creating innovation and it depends on a changed mind set.

Top tips for creating innovation in mental health provision
  1. Work to build relationships and understandings between all relevant partners. That doesn’t just mean between all parts of the healthcare system. It also means with  the voluntary and community sector (to provide more holistic and person-centred care)  with schools (to allow for better support for children and young people), with the police (often the emergency service that deals with those in extreme mental health crisis), with housing, and with patients and service users themselves.
  2. Ensure there is clear and strong leadership of any innovation. While it is important to have a range of bodies involved in projects, there ultimately needs to be clear leadership – and leadership which is empowered with authority and the ability to get ideas turned into reality.
  3. Make clear how any change will benefit partners. If leaders at an acute trust are aware that, for instance, a new service is liable to reduce unplanned attendances at accident and emergency for mental health crisis then it instantly becomes more relevant to them – and more likely to gain their support.

There are interesting developments in the NHS that are opening up opportunities for the community to be involved. Around 20 years ago Graham visited Romania (post Ceausescu) several times and a village where transport was a bullock cart almost. On one occasion he was taken into some local woods to see the hovel where a man lived. A man with severe mental health issues but no hope of treatment. It was unbelievable.

How did he survive? The village simply did what they could for him. Their voluntary service.  That is a picture that could be painted the world over .  Support in the community is not something “they” do but something we can do as a “village” community of Shedders and others. 

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