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My Kinda Menz

A Positive Approach

Every so often, an idea morphs out of a negative situation into an amazing positive solution.  The Menz Shed…  It is common knowledge that men have fewer friends than women do and are less likely to open up and talk about any problems they may be experiencing.  Women gather in circles to perform all sorts of different types of community needs, chat and share about their lives and challenges.  Men by nature do not find this so easy.

In order to prevent men spiralling down into depression and developing mental health issues, mainly after retirement or long term unemployment, they needed to be useful and engaged in an environment that would support them and utilise their many skills to benefit others.  The Menz Shed is a fabulous concept of this.  It has spread throughout both islands of New Zealand and is also equally as popular in Australia.

Women fully support the Menz Shed concept as it alleviates that claustrophobic feeling of having the man home all day after years of them going to work and having a useful job and routine.  The bliss of retirement brings its own challenges that need a positive approach and a practical solution.

The DNA of men naturally gives them strength, protection, support and that “Mr Fixit” capability.  Once they retire then these natural skills need to be utilised in a different way as their families are grown and their partner probably has a well-established friend group. What about those men who are living alone? 

As their web site mentions, it gives them an escape from that “underfoot syndrome”.  Here they make new friends and also share their knowledge and skills with others, often expanding their existing capabilities. They become very connected with their community and have fun at the same time. It gives them that purpose they need after a lifetime of working and supporting others and then suddenly…. Nothing!

My first exposure to the talents and skills in The Menz Shed was after I had experienced a burglary.  As a single female, I was looking for ideas on how women like me could find support in getting assistance with these jobs you can’t do and also small projects such as building a new wall in the garden or installing a security gate.  My discussions with The Menz Shed, were very friendly, helpful and supportive, I didn’t need a partner, I had a whole shed of them!!  

The sort of projects a shed tackles is entirely up to the shed in that area.  But this is what their web site says:- “most sheds around New Zealand take on some community projects, examples of which include building playgrounds for pre-school centres, repairing toy library stock, repairing old bikes for distribution to poorer communities, building planter boxes for the main street of the local central business district, and the list goes on”.

Further extracts are as follows:-

“MENZSHED New Zealand is the body which represents and supports sheds nationwide.  We aim to:

  • Bring sheds together to enable them to establish relationships and collaborate where appropriate.
  • Promote the concept to communities without sheds and support groups as they go through the establishment phase – and this includes linking new groups with nearby established sheds and our team of regional representatives.
  • Establish national sponsor relationships.  Sheds often initiate relationships at a local level too.
  • Encourage sheds to act autonomously.  We encourage sheds to make their own decisions and rules but we have resources to assist.
  • Operate at minimal cost to sheds.  Member sheds pay a $25.00 annual fee.
  • Organise national conferences, which are currently on a two-year cycle.
  • Allow sheds to drive the organisation rather than the organisation driving the sheds”.

I am currently in the process of moving north and once I get there, I intend to connect with the local SHED and give them a presentation on how I totally rebuilt my career in my sixties using digital marketing, something I knew ZERO about.  How I approached learning about it, how scary it was and how I thought only the young folks could do it.  How scary it was experiencing a burglary and what simple things I learned about security that they can pass on to the community. Tell them about my web site that addresses personal sustainability in a crisis. 

I am so impressed with finding this amazing community and what they achieve and how it alleviates the common trap of depression and uselessness, for our male community after retirement.  They are a fabulous working example of how simple a solution can be when you resort back to basic practicality.   You are “My Kinda Menz

#Retirement #Men’s Support #Practical Solutions #Community Projects

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