by Angela Clark
Photos by Katie Kennedy
There are not many places where men feel comfortable sharing their problems or talking about their health, but an old timber classroom in Dalmuir has been transformed into one such space.
The Dalmuir Men’s Shed provides a breathing space and time away from the daily pressures of life, where men from all walks of life come along, share their problems, swap skills and have a bit of banter.
For Bob Simpson ‘The Shed’ has been a real lifeline.
He said: “My wife died just over three years ago and I was just sitting in the house. I thought, it’s much better for me to get out and about.
“At the Shed there’s a good crowd and you can get on the tools, it keeps your mind busy.
“I like doing the woodwork as I’m good with my hands.
“It’s also a hub here for getting information like if you need to contact social work, there is always somebody who has done it and they pass all the information on to you by just talking about it.”
Many personal stories like Bob’s are shared inside these timber walls, giving an insight to why the men come along.
The strong bonds of trust and belonging that form in The Shed are evident from a first visit.
Ronnie Mclachlan a Shed regular said: “I’ve been coming here for about two years now, it keeps me busy and my skill levels up.
“The wee jobs here keep my brain active. I plan things out, I was a sheet metal worker and that’s what I did when I worked in the shipyards. I really enjoy the company as well.
“I met an old neighbour in here – Big Stewart – I hadn’t seen him for 40 years. If the Shed wisnae here I might never have seen him again.
“You get a bit of banter with the men, a wee laugh at each other.”
Good Time to Chat
The Shed caters for all ages and abilities.
Some of the guys have dementia and Parkinsons, they come for the chat and sit with a cup of tea, sometimes enjoying the laughter, other times sharing their problems.
Committee member Adam Mirren said: “Men don’t do that easily – share their problems.
“We have good discussions, we just talk things through, people share their experiences and what they’ve done.”
There are a large number of skilled workers amongst the members, many of whom served their time in John Browns in its glory days.
Their skills proved invaluable to get the shed up and running, converting two old classrooms into a fully operational workshop, toilet, kitchen and social room.
Accessible to All
They also installed a ramp, first removing it from the donator’s address before welding it back together at the side of the hut to give access to wheelchair users.
Adam added: “We are building another hut out the back as we have a shortage of storage space.
“We’re also keeping a bit of the grass area to create a wee garden with a bench so the guys can potter about outside.”
As well as working on their own shed the men have extended their skills out to the local community making benches and garden furniture for local community gardens.
They also make bird and dolls houses and little ornamental wooden Christmas trees.
Chairman Mick Wilson said: “It’s a great level of skill we have in the shed. We are trying to find a way of trickling those skills down to newer members and the younger generation and looking at ways to be sustainable in the long run.”
To find out more about The Shed call 07484 641566 or pop in to their base at Dalmuir C.E Centre 1pm – 4pm Mondays and Wednesdays.