Making yourself useful at ‘The Men’s Shed’

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An escapism, some men may say, or a place to head for some practical and social interaction, they may tell their wives, has been created in the old library at Westhill.

An extensive woodworking workshop with power tools and benches, or what some men may describe as “heaven,” opened this week and is part of a new idea imported from Australia.

“The Men’s Shed” is a place where men can turn their hand to helping with community projects, work on their own tasks or just relax with like-minded people.

It’s organised by volunteers from the community, for the community and is completely free of charge. The idea comes in response to the increasing number of retired men in Westhill and the surrounding area and it aims to promote longer, healthier lifestyles by keeping retired people active and social.

The concept has been hailed as a big success in Australia where over 500 sheds have been established in the past 10 years and it’s hoped the new venture at Westhill will be the first of many to come in Scotland.

The Shed has been bought into existence by local volunteers and is supported by Aberdeenshire Council, Age Scotland and a number of other local and national charities. The NHS Community Health Partnership has also donated a set of the humorous Haynes workshop manuals on men’s health that will be a topic of interest and discussion.

The past seven days have been an open week with special events but, from now on, opening times for the shed will be Mondays 10am-4pm, Wednesdays 3-8pm and Fridays 10am-4pm.

The Westhill Men’s Shed is located in the old library in Westhill (off Hays Way). Enter the Academy drive and continue round the back of the school and the building is in front of you.

Men’s Sheds grew from the idea that men like spending time tinkering, repairing, and making things while socialising with others who have similar interests. Aberdeenshire Council recognised that there are a number of men that are looking for a new interest in life. A common factor is that many of them have taken early retirement (often being in an oil industry related company) or have retired at the normal age but are still active and want a new challenge to keep their brains ticking over, have company and continue to contribute to their community.

They don’t have to be retired; anyone can go along to the Men’s Shed and find something to interest them and get involved. Membership is open to all adults- although the emphasis will be on activities for men.