As part of Men’s Health Week, Kent residents are being urged to join their local Sheds project, which aims to support wellbeing by encouraging people to make friends, share skills and support their local community.

During the current social distancing guidelines, a number of Sheds have adapted to offer members support on a virtual reality basis.

The Kent Sheds project started in 2014, in a bid to tackle issues such as loneliness, social isolation and mental health problems.

Each Shed is unique to reflect local interest and skills of those attending. Very few are actual ‘sheds’ and most – during normal circumstances – have fun and engaging themes and venues such as fishing lakes, boats and allotments.

Prior to lockdown in March 2020, there were 21 ‘real’ sheds in existence and – since restrictions began – those sheds have tried to continue in some fashion while another three new ‘virtual’ sheds have also been created.

65-year-old John Marsden, living in Maidstone, a retired IT Security Consultant, has been a member of Cobtree Men’s Shed for nearly five years. He originally joined the 30-strong group as he was retiring from full-time work and wanted to do something constructive with his newly acquired spare time.

He said: “I would encourage others to join Kent Sheds. Members can find out what other Sheds in Kent are doing and share information, problems, solutions, interests and skills, particularly at this time of the Covid-19 lockdown. I see this as an ideal way for like-minded retired or semi-retired men and women to get together to enjoy each other’s company in a safe and welcoming environment.”

There are seven sheds in the Dover and Shepway area. For more information click this link, plus look out for the Kent Sheds Network Facebook group.

By clerk

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