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Men's Shed unlocks Tony's creative side

Men's Shed unlocks Tony's creative side

Men's Shed unlocks Tony's creative side

19 September 2022

Tony finds great pleasure in the creative challenge of being part of a Men’s Shed.


The Australian Men’s Shed Association has just celebrated Men’s Shed Week (4-10 September) with the theme ‘A global village, doing local good’. Below we profile Tony, a Salvos Home Care client, who says being a member of a Men’s Shed has helped him unlock his creative side, connect with friends, and enhance his mental wellbeing. 


By Michael Manjalloor

Holding a wooden spider clock that he has been making, Tony explains how being part of a Men’s Shed has helped him manage stress and anxiety.

“When I am in the world of wood carving and wood burning, it involves a lot of imagination and energy,” he says. “It helps me to concentrate only on the piece of wood I am making, and that allows me to forget negative thoughts. Thinking of the creative work brings positive images to mind instead of negativity.”

Tony, a Salvos Home Care client, laughs and shows off another of his woodwork creations. “What I’m doing has enough energy to keep me positive for the whole day,” he explains. “It is a different feeling when I am designing. The challenge to make this gives me pleasure – that is the power of carving.”

Tony, who also cares for his wife, learned wood carving and wood burning from a Men’s Shed. Many sheds around Australia were unfortunately closed for most of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are starting to open again, and men are flocking back.

A productive experience

Men’s Sheds have a significant role to play in the lives of people like Tony. They are community-based, non-commercial organisations that provide a safe, friendly and inclusive environment, helping men come together in the company of each other to support mental health through learning, creativity and productivity. In addition, research shows that pro-social behaviour and positive social relationships can lead to improved life expectancy.

“I have made miniature furniture, toys, candle holders, wishing wells, knife holders, clocks with many themes and even a motorbike,” Tony says of his woodwork.

“Sometimes we make furniture for schools and toys for childcare centres at just the cost of raw materials. Some of the items we sell in a shopping centre, and we buy our equipment. It’s another opportunity for us to tell others about the Men’s Shed and interact with more people. I have learnt to keep out of stress by doing something good.”

Variety of activities

Apart from providing a space for friendship and socialising, Men’s Sheds also offer opportunities to learn a wide range of activities such as manual crafts, gardening, beekeeping, toy-making and other skills, including First Aid and health and wellbeing awareness.

Many Salvation Army Aged Care Centres offer Men’s Sheds or similar activities. The Australian Men’s Shed Association is the peak body, supporting almost 1000 Men’s Sheds across Australia, and it is funded through the Australian Government’s National Shed Development Program.

Research conducted by Beyond Blue and the Australian Men’s Shed Association found a significant improvement in Men’s Shed participants’ mental health, vitality and physical functioning and a reduction in anxiety and depression.

According to Beyond Blue, “It is thought that between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression and about 10 per cent experience anxiety.”

Healthy eating, staying hydrated, regular physical activity or exercise, study and relaxation techniques, and good sleep hygiene is also essential to maintain good mental health.

As Tony is doing, engaging in activities such as wood carving and art can help support positive mental health and improve quality of life while also increasing an individual’s capacity to support their family and their mates.

Michael Manjalloor is Home Care Coordinator for Salvos Home Care in Victoria


For more information, go to:
Beyond Blue: beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/older-people
Men’s Sheds Australia: Effects on Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing bit.ly/3pY8Rod
Find your local men's shed at: mensshed.org

 


 

 

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