Irish Men’s Sheds Association highlights need for supports as sheds reopen
Today (Monday 20th September) is a momentous occasion for thousands of men across the country. After almost 19 months of closure for some, the 360 plus men’s sheds in the Republic of Ireland can finally reopen.
This return to the sheds, and the larger return to normality across Irish society, has been long awaited by many. For all the elderly men who spent months cocooning or in extreme isolation, however, the huge milestone of reopening their sheds is especially poignant. Their return to the sheds serves as the ultimate reward for all the sacrifices they made to protect themselves and others from Covid-19; the light at the end of the tunnel that had seemed so far away in the earlier stages of this pandemic throughout 2020 is now finally right in front of us.
Enda Egan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, says there is great hope and optimism among men’s sheds members ahead of today’s reopening. “The men have missed each other and their shed dearly, after being forced to shut their doors and stay apart since March 2020” he explains. “They are absolutely raring to go now and get back inside the shed, and back to working on their many various projects that better their local communities.”
This reopening couldn’t have come a moment sooner, as the sheds are invaluable spaces that so many men depend on. They are a place that men of any and all backgrounds can turn to and be welcomed; a place where men have the chance to meet new people, learn new skills, and find a sense of belonging within their community. The Irish Men’s Sheds Association is pleased that the Irish government recognise the huge importance of this outlet, and that specific reference to the reopening of sheds was included in their recently launched ‘Reframing the Challenge’ plan for living with Covid-19. We hope that the government will continue to recognise the value of sheds as a vital resource for Irish men, and that adequate funding for our Association will be forthcoming in next month’s budget
Today’s reopening is certainly a step in the right direction in securing the future and continued success of men’s sheds in Ireland as we emerge into a new chapter of the pandemic. However, the return to a shed that’s been closed for nearly two years won’t be easy for everyone, especially for those sheds who missed out on key fundraising opportunities during that time. It’s very likely that a shed near you is in need of support or new members as they now begin to get back up and running. To find a shed in your area, and to see if their activities sound like something that could benefit you or any man you know, please head to our website.