July 20th was a proud day for men’s sheds in Ireland, as the Irish Men’s Sheds Association launched its new men’s health website, Malehealth.ie. The new website offers information, resources and advice from over 40 Irish health organisations. Based on a template established by the Australian Men’s Sheds Association, the website’s menu is intuitive and easy to navigate, being based on a graphic of the male anatomy. Users select their age-range, click on the part of the body they want to find out more about, and are then presented with a menu of health topics (including conditions, ailments and lifestyle issues). They can then select from the menu to be taken directly to the website of the country’s leading authorities on that topic.
The keynote speech at the launch was delivered by Finian McGrath TD, Minister of State for Disability Issues. The Minister’s speech emphasised the role men’s sheds have played in tackling social isolation and improving health and wellbeing amongst Irish men, a note which was repeated by RTÉ star Marty Morrissey, who spoke warmly about the benefits of men’s sheds in a society which has lost touch with its sense of community.
IMSA Chairman George Kelly brought greetings from his own shed in Killarney as he formally launched the proceedings. IMSA CEO Barry Sheridan welcomed the presence of over 100 representative from the 40+ partner organisations featured on the website, and expressed deep gratitude for the ongoing support of the Irish government and HSE. Barry dedicated the launch to Ireland’s 10,000 shedders, without whom the website launch would never have come about. Barry repeatedly made the point that the men’s shed movement was a movement of local, community-based organisations who had created an inherently health-promoting environment for men throughout Ireland.
IMSA Health & Wellbeing Coordinator Edel Byrne, who has overall responsibility for the Sheds for Life initiative under which Malehealth.ie was developed, talked the audience through the website itself, showing just how user-friendly it is for men of all ages. Edel said that men’s sheds had been at the forefront of a revolution of men’s health in Ireland, and looked forward to every man in Ireland benefiting from the resources placed at his disposal by Malehealth.ie. You can find a simple guide to how to use the Malehealth.ie site HERE.
The undoubted highlight of the launch event was a warm and moving speech from T.P. O’Gorman of Kilbeggan Men’s Shed in Co. Westmeath. T.P. spoke eloquently about what the shed meant to him and to others in his community, peppering his speech with witty and self-deprecating comments which earned him warm applause from an appreciative audience.
All told, the event was a huge success with an upbeat, positive atmosphere which bodes well for the future of men’s health in Ireland. Most importantly, however, it was an opportunity to reflect on the profound impact men’s sheds are having on the lives of men and communities throughout Ireland. That impact is the reason so many health organisations have chosen to partner with IMSA on Malehealth.ie. Shedders throughout the country can be immensely proud of that contribution. Keep visiting and sharing www.malehealth.ie and let’s keep men’s sheds at the forefront of men’s health.