Project aiming to tackle men’s mental health issues through woodwork and friendships


Colin Gambrill helped set up Thundersley Men’s Shed

A new scheme helping men deal with social isolation through woodwork will open to residents in Thundersley next month.

Thundersley Men’s Shed will open its doors for an open day on April 28 after an over two years wait to get the project started due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The project aims to get mainly older men out of the house and learning new skills as a way making friends after they have retired and creating brand new social groups.

Colin Gambrill, 68, helped set up the shed. He says the project will originally be putting on sessions for residents every Monday and Thursday with the hope to eventually get work commissioned by members of the public or local organisations.

He said: “Men’s Sheds serve as a welcoming and safe projects for men in the local community to join who may be at risk, or suffering from, social isolation or loneliness.

“Men often struggle particularly at this time due to loosing what routine they had, workplace social connections and skills they have potentially built up over a long career.”

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“Men’s sheds are very popular. I’ve got nine potential members coming over to me from Rayleigh because they can’t fit them in.

He added: “It is a social enforcing thing for men to get them out of the house and getting them to make friends.”

Sponsored by charity Carers Choices the shed is large enough for six participants while there is further space to hold workshops for even more outside when the weather allows.

While residents will be aided on their path to learning new skills, Mr Gambrill said he was just happy if some turned up for a coffee and chat with new friends.

He added; “We’ve been trying to get it ready for two and half years now. Covid kind of put us out for a year by not being able to do anything due to lockdown but we’re getting there.

“Traditionally men will not speak about their feeling in social situations for fear of social stigma. Having an environment where Men can attend with many other similarly aged, like minded members, creates a space where men are much more likely to talk openly about their feelings or any issues they may be facing.”

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