Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur has today praised the work of Orkney Men’s Shed in a Members’ Debate in the Scottish Parliament, highlighting the benefits in terms of reducing the risk of loneliness and isolation or even poor mental health.
Mr McArthur also took the opportunity to repeat his call for Ministers to look at the possibility of Men’s Sheds bidding for health and social care funding, as happens in Australia, where the movement began back in the 1980s.
Despite the success of Orkney Men’s Shed and the growing popularity of the movement across Scotland, Mr McArthur suggested that they remain a “largely unsung success story”. Orkney’s MSP described the work the organisation does as “life changing” for its members, providing a sense of purpose and an opportunity to make friends and share company.
Speaking after the debate, Mr McArthur said:
“The Men’s Shed movement has been a tremendous success over recent years with the number of Sheds and ‘Shedders’ across the country continuing to grow. This is illustrated perfectly in Orkney, where the local Men’s Shed is goes from strength to strength, with membership up to 140 and plans for expansion of the Shed in Finstown.
“Every Men’s Sheds is different, of course, but all provide a place to work and relax, pursue hobbies, share skills, have a cuppa and a chat and get practical help with projects.
“This should not disguise, however, the real impact Men’s Sheds can and do have. Increasingly it is recognised that these facilities make a tangible difference in efforts to tackle loneliness, social isolation and mental ill health.
“Last month, I urged the government to look at the case for allowing Men’s Sheds to bid in for health and wider social care funding. This is the approach in Australia, where the movement started, and there are strong arguments for assessing if the same might be done in this country.
“This could help sustain and expand Men’s Sheds, providing more people in Scotland with the chance to access the many benefits they deliver”.