Carluke men will soon have their very own Men’s Shed

Mobile movement...Paul Creechan and Christine Calder of Seniors Together and Councillor Jim McGuigan (centre) are delighted the unit has been such a hit.
Mobile movement...Paul Creechan and Christine Calder of Seniors Together and Councillor Jim McGuigan (centre) are delighted the unit has been such a hit.

A Men’s Shed is to be set up in Carluke, thanks to interest shown in a mobile shed at the town’s lifestyles and leisure centres.

From mid-October 2018, South Lanarkshire Council’s Seniors Together team have manned a mobile shed – formerly a mobile library – every Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 2.30pm.

With more than a dozen regulars popping in, the team have agreed to launch a Men’s Shed in the town.

And there’s still time for more men to get on board as the mobile unit will be open every Monday and Tuesday until the end of this month.

Thereafter, a public meeting will be held in Carluke to establish the new group, which aims to help men tackle loneliness and isolation – giving them a place to meet other like-minded individuals.

It is yet another success story for Paul Creechan, the local development officer for Men’s Shed.

Prior to pitching up in Carluke, the unit proved a big hit in Stonehouse where a Men’s Shed has also now been launched.

In Carluke, the town’s development trust is lending a hand with the project too.

Paul said: “We’ll be coming to the end of our run in Carluke at the end of January and are delighted with the interest shown.

“It’s a busy time of year for people but we have a core of ten men who are very interested in forming a Men’s Shed in the town.

“There are half a dozen regulars currently meeting in the mobile shed, with half a dozen more keen to join.

“The next step will be holding a public meeting in the town, which everyone with an interest in the Men’s Shed will be welcome to attend.

“Carluke Development Trust is happy for the shed to be established at its High Mill site.

“But what form that will take – be it a shed or cabin – will be decided by members.

“They may initially have to meet in the leisure or lifestyles centres until a permanent home is created.

“But the men we already have on board are very keen to see a shed established so I don’t think it will be long before it becomes operational in Carluke.”

The main aims of the mobile unit were to give a flavour of what a Men’s Shed could offer in Carluke and to seek input on what form locals would like the new group to take.

Ultimately, though, that will also be decided by members of the new shed.

Paul said: “Each shed is different as what it does is dictated by the members’ own interests, be that woodwork, gardening or just enjoying a chat.

“I know some groups like working on electronic goods, while others play guitars or do woodwork and gardening.

“It really is up to each individual shed to decide.”

Councillor Jim McGuigan, the council’s spokesman for older people, is delighted such interest has been shown in Carluke but he wants more communities to get on board too.

He said: “Men’s Shed is simply a venue for older men to socialise, build confidence and get involved in workshop activities as part of a project designed to reduce feelings of loss, isolation and loneliness.

“It provides a safe and busy environment where men can meet in an atmosphere of friendship.

“And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just go along and have a chat and a cuppa if that is what they want to do.

“The response we’ve had since taking the mobile shed on the road has been amazing – people everywhere seem to think it is such a good idea and it’s leading to the creation of new permanent sheds.

“Our aim is that there will soon be a shed for everyone, no matter where they live in South Lanarkshire.”

Successful Men’s Sheds have already been created in Forth and Biggar.

But in the hope more will be established, once the mobile shed leaves Carluke it is destined to head out on a South Lanarkshire wide promotional tour.

Paul added: “The aim of the tour will be to promote existing clubs while also encouraging people to set up their own community sheds.

“The Biggar Men’s Shed was formed after a similar promotional tour, so the mobile unit has a proven track record of galvanising people into action.

“We hope the tour will encourage people to try out an existing Men’s Shed.

“We’ll also be able to offer advice on starting one up in areas where there isn’t one.”

For more information contact the Seniors Together office on 01698 454105 or email seniorstogether@southlanarkshire.gov.uk.

Australian idea has gone global

Named after its founder Dick McGowan, the first men’s shed was opened in Tongala, Victoria, Australia, in 1998.

It has since grown to become a global movement.

In Scotland, shedders are supported by the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA).

Launched in November 2015, its aim is to help new and existing groups set up and run a Men’s Shed in their local town or community.

The association is on hand to give a helping hand to anyone looking for assistance or more information on developing and running a Men’s Shed.

There are currently 1490 members from 103 sheds now operational across the country in 32 local authority areas.

And there are more than 50 sheds in development too.

Derek Keiller, Scottish Men’s Sheds Association chairman, said: “Men’s Sheds in our opinion are one of the best ways for Scottish councils to save money and allow their buildings which are surplus to requirements or under used to be transferred to the community as a Men’s Shed.

“It is our desired outcome that all people who wish to support the Men’s Shed movement and the SMSA will use our online resources, our social media and a chat with us to keep moving forward as quickly as possible in leading active lives, building their community and making a difference.

“So get those shed doors open, put on the kettle and let the good times roll. It’s not going to happen unless you do it”.

Association membership is completely free. To find out more, visit the website scottishmsa.org.uk.

The wider UK Men’s Sheds Association was founded in 2013 when there were just 30 in the UK. Today, there are almost 500 Sheds and more than 11,500 shedders.