by Joe Bavington
Recently, I went to speak to some of the neighbours near our Learning Centre in Milton Keynes. It was actually because they had complained about parking and busy times on the road, so that was the starting point.
Introducing Men in Sheds
After we resolved the issues, as we were chatting, one of the neighbours said that they were part of a local Men in Sheds.
I hadn’t heard of Men in Sheds before, so I googled it and found that it was set up as a place for men and women to go to chat and make things. It’s about people feeling connected and also to help their communities as well. It’s a national project. I found the number of our local Men in Sheds and they invited me to go and have a look.
How could we help?
I was very aware of MacIntyre's Everyone Everywhere emphasis and I thought about going and asking them how we could get involved.
I told them about MacIntyre and they said that they didn’t really know about people with a learning disability. We talked about how we could help each other. They wanted three things:
- To be more inclusive
- To let more people know about what they do
- To help their local community
Jay gets involved
I went back to the learning centre and spoke to some of the people who draw on our support. Jay was really interested in visiting and I explained that we needed some tables and planters for our outside space. He was keen to help create them with the Men in Sheds group.
Jay and his support worker have been going for the last few weeks and Jay has been doing different jobs and helping the group. Jay was involved in making and painting three new potting tables for us, ready for next year's seed sewing, which have turned out great.
I enjoy Men in Sheds and sorting the screws ready to be used. It is great to see the tables that I painted in the garden! It is a pleasure to see what other things there are to do. I hope people respect the tables that we built. It would be nice to see hopefully in the future some more about what they do and use some of their tools.
Understanding and helping each other
It’s helped Men in Sheds gain better understanding and be more inclusive, seeing everyone simply as people who can mutually support each other. It has given Jay a sense of purpose as well as making us all feel better connected.
Now, Jay is planning more projects along with Men in Sheds and is helping out at other community events.