The Irish Men’s Sheds Association is honoured to announce that it has been awarded the European Citizens’ Prize for 2018. The Association was nominated for the prize by Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly, Deirdre Clune, Mairéad McGuinness and Brian Hayes, and is one of two Irish winners this year, alongside the charity Inner City Helping Homeless.
Seán Kelly, Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, was warm in his praise and congratulations: “[This is a] well-deserved award in recognition of the positive, constructive impact the Men’s Sheds movement has had on its members and in local communities”.
In nominating men’s sheds for the prize, the Fine Gael MEPs stated that: “The Irish Men’s Sheds Association creates a space where men can discuss health issues and emotions while engaging in purposeful activities.
“The Sheds are in urban and rural areas and promote the health and well-being of members by combatting issues such as loneliness and isolation while creating a culture where men can openly discuss their thoughts and feelings without stigma. It has shown how integration is one of its key values by being a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men, regardless of age, background or ability, come together and undertake a variety of mutually agreed activities. These activities include carpentry, bike and vehicle repairs, upholstery, gardening, bee keeping, painting, singing, developing IT skills, and playing cards”, he concluded.
Irish Men’s Sheds Association CEO Barry Sheridan spoke of his delighted on behalf of the movement and its members: “This is an incredible honour. You can see by the calibre of the previous winners just how prestigious the award is.
“Over the past ten years, sheds have transformed the lives of members and made a massive impact on communities across the island”, Barry continued. “This award is a tribute to everyone who helped get the movement on its feet in those early days – including those who are no longer with us – and to the members and supporters who carry the torch today. It’s for the thousands of members, supporters, partners and their families who have made Ireland a world leader in the field of men’s sheds. You don’t achieve recognition like this unless you’ve done something truly remarkable and of real benefit to society, and that’s something our members can be incredibly proud of”.
Representatives of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association will join other winners at the official prize-giving ceremony at the European Parliament, Brussels on 9 October.