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  • Sligo OT wins prestigious Ann Beckett Award for work with Men’s Shed.

    Pictured above are: Left to right; Anne Ward, Carla O’Hara, Rodrigo Frade, Theresa Peacock and Ruth Boland.

    On 19th April, Rodrigo Frade, Senior Occupational Therapist, HSE Sligo Mental Health Services, accepted the Ann Beckett award for his work on the Men’s Shed Initiative in Sligo at the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) annual conference in Mullingar. This award is given to the project that during the previous year has shown to best promote inclusion and links with community agencies amongst others. The competition is an enriching process for occupational therapists and provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate the core principles of occupational therapy practice. The committee looks for practical projects and creative interventions which empower people. According to the chairperson of the AOTI, Odhran Allen ‘the Ann Beckett award is the top award in OT, it recognises excellence and innovation in practice. I wish to congratulate Rodgrio on his fantastic achievement in winning it’.

    The Men’s Shed Initiative in Sligo started with a partnership among the Senior Occupational Therapist for Sligo Mental Health Services, Rodrigo Frade, the Men’s Health Development Officer for the Sligo Leader Partnership, Jonathan May, and a group of men from Sligo. A Men’s Shed may have many different aims from Rodrigo’s perspective, the goal was to create a space that promoted good mental health and wellbeing, and encouraged social inclusion. The Shed is now fully run by the “Shedders” (name given to the people that attend a Men’s Shed) and Brendan Donegan, one of the founders, is the current chairperson.

    The Sligo Men’s Shed has had a very positive impact so far. Over one hundred men from Sligo have registered with the shed. Also, people from different services in Sligo town such as the Acquired Brain Injury and the National Learning Network joined this group. Currently the Sligo Men’s Shed is a good example for inclusion in the community where people from different backgrounds interact fully for a common purpose. The Sligo Men’s Shed is based behind the Bishop’s Palace in a shed kindly loaned by the bishop for this purpose. The Sligo Men’s Shed also had the support of the Sligo Rotary Club during the formation period.

    Theresa Peacock, Occupational Therapy Manager for Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services, states; “To win this award is a huge honour. It’s all about empowerment and inclusion of clients. The project started in relation to socially isolated men in Sligo but it has progressed to include all men in Sligo.” This is the third time the award has come to Sligo. In 2009, it was won by Rosemary Dillon and in 2010 it was won by Theresa herself.

    Rodrigo is from Portugal and is currently finishing an MSC in University College Cork. He has worked for the HSE for over four years. Rodrigo explained what the award means to him; “It is recognition of the quality of the work developed by Occupational Therapists and the HSE for their service users and for the wider community in Sligo’. In regards to future plans for the Men’s Shed Rodrigo said that he intends to fully step out from the Shed while ensuring that it will continue for many years to come.