Minsiter Colm Burke with the Mayfield Men’s Sheds choir.

Men’s Sheds 'vital' in addressing health inequality

Men’s Sheds across the northside of Cork city marked International Men's Health Week by showing how the sheds are improving quality of life for residents in the community.

The aim of Men’s Health Week is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems for men of all ages, and to encourage early detection of health issues while supporting men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyles.

According to recent study, 91% of shedders feel participating in a shed has improved their wellbeing, while almost 75% feel happier in their home lives because of attending the shed.

Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Public Health & Wellbeing, Colm Burke visited several Men’s Sheds to celebrate the start of Men’s Health Week. These were Men’s Sheds in the Blackpool, Mayfield and the Glen, Ballyvolane and Dublin Hill. Minister Burke met with representatives in the community involved in the delivery of the service to see how the Men’s Sheds are improving quality of life for residents in the community.

Men’s Sheds provide a space for men to come together, learn new skills and socialise with their peers. Through Healthy Ireland, the Department of Health supports the Sheds for Life Programme, which focuses on improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those who use the service.

Minster Burke said: “Whilst there have been improvements to men’s health overall, there continues to be significant differences in health outcomes not just between men and women, but between different population groups of men. For example, men are more likely to die younger than women, and have higher mortality rates for the leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, and suicide.”

He added: “Men’s Sheds play a very important role in addressing this inequality, supporting members to have a better and healthier quality of life through the Sheds for Life Programme.”

Ray Harte, Chairman of Irish Men’s Sheds Association, said “For the most part, Sheds are safe, supportive and confidential spaces for men to share their feelings and discuss things they couldn’t imagine discussing outside any other four walls. Sheds have saved lives.

“For many, the Shed is the ‘why’ that gets them out of bed in the morning and gives their life meaning.” See menssheds.ie for more.