At their last meeting, Stonehaven probus Club were treated to an illustrated talk by guest speaker Jason Schroeder.
He called it ‘Welcome to your shed.’ It seems that, in our modern society, men can sometimes find that retirement is not the paradise they imagined. Because careers and their role as family breadwinner have absorbed much of their attention and energy over 40 years or so, when it is brought to a sudden end they can find themselves in a state of paid idleness with no Plan B. Sometimes this can have negative effects on relationships and, indeed, on health.
Women, of course, proverbially never retire and during their working lives will typically forge sensible and fulfilling social contacts which can last a lifetime. And they seem quicker to realise that the later, more leisured, part of their lives may bring problems too - 90% of students on adult education courses are female. One attempt to address this problem was started in Australia over 12 years ago with government support. Though called the ‘Men’s Shed’ any building can be used and it is a place where men of all ages are welcome to join and just drop in any time to work together making, restoring, or repairing on a worthwhile project. They are socialising, learning new skills, contributing once more to Society while at the same time ‘having a laugh’. The ‘shed’ is split into two areas, one part workshop, the other a social area but the exact layout depends on the needs of the community. The sheds are set up as charities and are run by the men themselves - no ‘bosses’ - and everyone contributing to the best of their abilities. There are now over 1000 sheds in Australia with four sheds opening every month in recent years. The Australian model is proving to be successful in Ireland, New Zealand, and England. In February 2013 the first Scottish Men’s Shed, following the Australian model, opened its doors in the old library in Westhill. Jason has hopes for a second shed in Ellon and perhaps Portlethen. David Jackson proposed thanks.