The Irish Men’s Shed Association has taken the traditional sanctuary of the garden shed and turned it into a countrywide network providing a haven of support and companionship for more than 10,000 members.
It is uplifting to see that some of the 460 men’s sheds forced to close during the pandemic are now slowly reopening with social distancing.
Sadly, some remain closed because members consider themselves particularly at risk from a virus that has disproportionately affected older people.
During lockdown, the Irish Men’s Sheds Association ran an excellent island-wide campaign called “You can’t call in, but you can call”.
As the name suggests, it encouraged men’s sheds and the public to pick up the phone and call anyone who might have felt isolated.
At the time, Barry Sheridan, the association’s CEO, said: “We always say that the kettle is the most important tool in the shed. A key part of any day in a shed is gathering around the table, having a cup of tea and a chat. The next time you’re sitting down for a cuppa, think of someone who is at risk of social isolation and give them a call.”
Lockdown might be over, but isolation is not. Many older people are still slow to leave their homes. If you can’t call in on them, do as the Men’s Shed Association suggests and give them a call.