Community or Men's Shed projects have proved invaluable in reducing isolation in communities. Community Shed projects have started to establish themselves in various districts across Essex. They are proving to have positive wellbeing outcomes for those that use them. Carers Choices would like to create a facility that gives Castle Point residents the opportunity to have a Shed project in their area.
Compared to women, men are at greater risk of isolation. Older men are more likely to be social isolated that women of a similar age due to less contact with family, greater reluctance to join clubs for older people and less likely to ask for support (The Emerging Crisis for Older Men. International Longevity Centre and Independent Age. 2014).
Figures taken from the Castle Point Local Authority Portrait published in May 2016 indicate that between 2015 and 2025 the population of those aged over 65 will increase from 22,300 to 26,500 - an increase of 19% (4,200) and will represent 28% of the total population in the district.
The ‘Shed’ will also provide volunteering opportunities to support Silver Birch Clients with creative activities.
We have already secured nearly £20,000 to cover the cost of building the shed and adjacent storage container which we aim to have built in the next few months. Our community shed will provide a social space that will be available for use by a wide variety of community groups but will also provide space for those who use our existing Dementia Day Centre.
The Shed will be able to offer a facility for the clients of our Silver Birch Dementia Day Centre. This service provides a holistic programme of wellbeing activities for those living with dementia. The group have been working with the Rayleigh Weir Men’s Shed group. They have provided wooden items in kit form which the clients have then been able to create within the Day Centre. A Shed facility will provide a genuine workshop environment giving clients a sense of purpose and wellbeing.
The Shed will be equipped with workbenches positioned at two heights. A higher workbench can be used for those who prefer to stand while working and a lower level for those in wheelchairs or for those who wish to undertake activities while seated. Small tools such as drills, saws, chisels, hammers, screwdrivers etc. will be stored in an adjacent container. Larger tools will be securely fixed in place and remain in the shed. Only those who have undertaken a health and safety induction will be allowed to use power tools.
The Shed will be used by clients of The Silver Birch Dementia Day Centre who will be supported by an Activity Co-ordinator, be used by a new Thundersley Men’s Shed Group and available for hire to other local community groups for a minimal charge to cover wear and tear and electricity usage. Bookings for the Community Shed will be co-ordinated by Carers Choices. Groups accessing the shed will be required to provide evidence of sufficient insurance which includes cover for using power tools. Groups will be required to undertake an induction with all their members in the correct use of tools and will need to provide evidence to Carers Choices that this has taken place.
Although the basic funding has been secured additional funding is needed to cover the cost of materials to supply electricity to the shed, tools to equip the shed and a starter wood supply.