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The Pitlochry and Moulin Men’s Shed is Giving Men a Space to Socialise

LISTEN: Peter Aitken explains what the men’s shed is all about -Photo credit: Everton Village Hampshire

A new organisation in Pitlochry is looking to help give men the space to socialise and support each other.

The Pitlochry and Moulin Men’s Shed is getting ‘generally retired’ men together for a chat over a tea or coffee while working away on a project to help build a support network in the town.

Explaining the idea, Peter Aitken, chair of the local shed, said: “How many of us know of men who after they retired from work with no plan or no social support network simply disappeared. That’s the basis of the main shed movement.

“It’s a place for, generally retired, men to get together, have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and put the world to right.

“From my perspective, when I lost my job in 2019, I struggled to come to terms with that. I kept busy by helping at home, but this intruded on my wife’s routine, I needed somewhere to go to be with blokes who had some experience of life after work. In other words, I needed a men’s shed.”

For Mr Aitken it’s a very personal ambition to make sure the opportunity to find support after a life of work is available. He says that many men focus on their careers and afterwards find themselves without the network they relied on during that time.

He explained: “I was dumped from my previous role in a very unhelpful way. I found myself at home doing nothing, getting under my wife’s feet. And in November, December time, for that to happen, it’s very dark.

“I know it’s always been dark in November, December time, for the rest of my life, but I’ve always been getting up and going to work. And you when you go to your work, and you get to work and it’s daylight. But when you get up at the same time, because your body clock work, wakens you up and it’s dark outside and you’re not going anywhere. And then you realize how dark it isn’t, how long it stays dark.”

He says he was left with long days without much of an outlet to spend his time, but he’s hoping that a network like this can give that space for men to reach out and meet new people with similar interests.

The whole idea has actually been the centre of an investigation by Glasgow Caledonian University into how groups like this can help support men and their mental health.

Just this month they’ve posted their research which found the sheds offer a social, educational and supportive space for men.

Mr Aitken added: “There have been various academic studies carried out by, certainly Glasgow Caledonia University, they’ve been using men’s sheds as research venues and research partners in exploring men’s health and social needs. And then there’s a report available on the men’s sheds association website that shows the benefits of it. And I just think it’s a fantastic thing.”

The Pitlochry and Moulin Men’s Shed meets every second Tuesday evening in the Atholl Centre.

Anyone looking to get in touch can email: pammensshed@gmail.com

More information on the GCU research can be found on: https://www.gcu.ac.uk/media/gcalwebv2/ycsbh/yunuscentre/newycwebsite/MENS%20SHED%20TOOLKIT%20FOR%20UK%20AND%20IRELAND.pdf

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