The tools of wellbeing
Men grouping together with their tools can be a multi-channelled powerful initiative.
The MenzShed in Cheviot is proof of this, and they’ve got their work cut out for the next few weeks getting their new ‘home’ ready for some MenzShed action.
The relocated building from the former Cotswold School in Christchurch arrived in the town this week, and has been placed on the Council’s Reserve site at 5 Seddon Street in Cheviot, which was the former location of the Towns Community Hall.
MenzShed is a nationwide initiative (to quote the MenzShed website) “to put it in a rather large nutshell, a shed brings men together in one community space to share their skills, have a laugh, and work on practical tasks individually (personal projects) or as a group (for the shed or community).”
Bruce Nicol is Chairman and a trustee of Cheviot MenzShed which has more than a dozen members.
He said the community help illustrated this week to get the building in place on its new foundations was incredible.
“It was a real boost to us, to see people who aren’t even involved but still helping out; with diggers, their ride on mower, or the Cheviot Tea Rooms providing food for the Kings House Removal Team. People just came out of the woodwork to help out.”
Bruce said Kings House Removals did a great job transporting the building, and he thanked the Council’s Mayoral Taskforce For Jobs (MTFJ) students who helped tidy up the land before this week’s arrival.
“We are all set to start doing what we need to do in terms of sorting the services to get everything up and running.”
The water and power lines are in, there’s a bit of earth work to do, and jobs will start to be ticked off from now until early into 2021 when Bruce expects the new MenzShed to be open for service.
The wood work room at Cheviot Area School is the current home for the MenzShed, and has been since its inception two years ago.
“The school has been very supportive. We’ve also been working with a small group of students who have been doing their own wood work projects.”
Plenty of tools and equipment have been gifted from the wider community too, including funding from the Cheviot Lions Club.
“People have been so supportive with their donations, including belongings from community members’ late husbands, who are so happy to see those treasured tools being used again.”
Bruce said the beauty of the MenzShed is that it’s about creating a place to encourage companionship, as well as providing a resource of skills to benefit community groups and individuals.
“As a team, we have a lot of credibility. We are serious about what we are trying to achieve as we tick many boxes concerning local community needs.”
Mental health and wellbeing is a prime focus.
“There are blokes sitting alone at home who have skills, and they’re able to use this opportunity and get together. It’s also a subtle way for people to keep an eye on each other, make sure everyone’s doing okay.”
MenzShed gives back with labour as well as with companionship – providing skills and resources for community projects or some individuals, such as woodwork or welding work.
“The arrival of the building also recognises the support from our funding partners such as Lotteries Community Facilities, Rata Foundation, The Trust Charities Fund, Cheviot Community Committee, Cheviot Community Trust, and Cheviot Lions Club.”