Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur has today praised the work of Orkney Men’s Shed and the development of the county's second Men's Shed in Sanday.
Mr McArthur joined MSPs from across all parties and every part of the country in highlighting the success of the Men’s Shed movement as parliament debated the issue earlier today. The Members debate, chaired by Mr McArthur, recognised the benefits of Men's Sheds in tackling loneliness and improving mental health. It followed a recent visit by Orkney's MSP to meet the small, hard-working team of 'shedders' in Sanday who are transforming the old Co-op building in Kettletoft.
The Men's Shed movement, which began in Australia during the 1980s, has grown in popularity around the world, providing community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. Mr McArthur has been a strong and active supporter of the Orkney Men's Shed, helping with its move into its first premises in Finstown in 2017. Since then, it has been announced that it is taking up residency in Stromness. Orkney's MSP has previously pressed Scottish Ministers to look at ways in which health spending might be used to support Men’s Sheds.
Following the debate, Mr McArthur said:
"The Men’s Shed movement has been a largely undersung success story. It has made a life-changing impact on 'shedders' around the world, providing a sense of purpose and community and benefitting the communities in which Sheds have been established.
"This has been perfectly illustrated in Orkney where the Men's Shed community and popularity continue to grow. Following a period of uncertainty, the Orkney Men's Shed now has a new permanent home in Stromness. Meanwhile, north of the Galt, great progress is being made on the Sanday Men’s Shed, which it is hoped will open its doors later this year. It was a pleasure to visit the site in Kettletoft last week and speak to some of those involved in this fantastic initiative. They have put in a huge amount of effort and deserve enormous credit for what they’ve been able to do.
"Hopefully, this can provide inspiration and a model for other islands. The risks of isolation and poor mental health are ones shared across our island communities, all of which could benefit from the approach taken by the Men’s Shed movement, albeit tailored to meet individual circumstances, demand and personalities.
"As we emerge from the pandemic, Men's Sheds offer an excellent way to bring our communities together. Their positive contribution could not be more important or timely and they deserve our full support, especially through greater funding."