Discovering Men’s Sheds Conference

Posted by pt91 at Sep 27, 2011 11:15 AM |
Thursday, 29 September 2011 at the Ramada Leicester Hotel in Leicester

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 27 September 2011

Isolation and loneliness in later life among men will be tackled at a conference in Leicester looking at the success of an innovative Age UK pilot project Men in Sheds.

The Discovering Men’s Sheds conference, taking place on 29 September at the Ramada Leicester Hotel in Leicester, will bring a range of professionals together –including expertise from the University of Leicester- to consider new ways to help tackle isolation experienced by older men.

Age UK’s Men in Sheds project has been hugely successful in proving that bringing men together in an informal learning environment can have a real impact on the health and wellbeing of older men.

Men in Sheds provides older men with a workshop (shed), tools and equipment so they can use existing skills, learn new ones and get involved in productive activity, while enjoying the benefits of working in a social group.

Jim Soulsby, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leicester’s Institute of Lifelong Learning, said: “It is important for society today that we explore all opportunities for the continued engagement of older people in our communities. Just because we are older does not mean that our gender, beliefs, ethnicity and life experiences are no longer of importance to us.

“For many they are the key to engagement, fulfilment, and developing a positive attitude to our own ageing. The University wishes to explore how movements like Men’s Sheds - which seek innovative ways to reach people - can be sustained in this region and to see what opportunities there are for the University to assist in researching the impact and benefits of such initiatives.”

Mr Soulsby is Chairing a session and leading a workshop looking at alternative forms of engagement with men.

Discovering Men’s Sheds: The Effect on Men’s Health, Well-being and Informal Learning, organised by Age UK, NIACE, Men’s Health Forum and the University of Leicester, will look at the achievements of Men in Sheds (funded by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust) and the challenges and successes faced by those setting up and running their Sheds. The conference will explore the importance of informal learning within men’s health and well-being initiatives and workshops throughout the day will investigate the practicalities of sustaining a Shed and the role of informal learning in engaging men.

Age UK is developing, piloting and evaluating the project in Greenwich, Nottingham and South Lakeland  over a two-year period from April 2010 to April 2012. The three contrasting Sheds have been funded to explore how the model can work in different areas (such as rural and urban), with specific groups (such as BME Elders and men in later life with mental health problems) and involve different activities (such as repair/restoration). There are further ground-breaking projects being run by other local Age UKs including Cheshire and Cheshire East.

The concept was originally developed in Australia where it is called Men’s Sheds and Honorary Australian Men’s Sheds Association Patron, Professor Barry Golding of the University of Ballarat in Australia will provide the keynote address at the conference.

For more information and to book your place at Discovering Men’s Sheds visit www.niace.org.uk/events

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For any media enquiries please call Sarah Scott at Age UK on 020 3033 1434 or email sarah.scott@ageuk.org.uk

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Ather Mirza, University of Leicester press office: 0116 252 3335; pressoffice@le.ac.uk

Notes to editor

Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group (“we”).  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 

NIACE

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the leading non-government organisation for lifelong learning in England, and exists to encourage more and different adults to engage in better-quality learning of all kinds. It works for and celebrates the achievements of all adult learners.

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