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Foundations First Men's Shed Project, Paisley

The Men’s Shed project in Paisley was set up by Shelter Scotland’s Foundations First service, which is funded by the STV Children’s Appeal, and supports people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Men’s Shed provides a place for people to meet regularly and helps to tackle isolation and loneliness. It is also a place of learning and skill sharing, supporting people to set and achieve their own goals and support each other.

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Janice

Janice is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Foundations First Men’s Shed project. She has worked for over a decade with single men who have been homelessness and has recognised the impact of loneliness and isolation. Many of the men she supported have similar problems including addictions, mental health issues, and not being able to sustain tenancies and homelessness. The Men’s Shed creates a safe space where men from across Renfrewshire come to learn new skills, socialise with others and make a difference in their local community.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Alan

‘25 years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer and after going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy I was eventually deemed unfit for work, and have been medically retired ever since. Although I’m not able to put anything back into the workplace, I still wanted to feel like I was contributing to society, so I eventually became a volunteer with Shelter Scotland. I initially came to the Men’s Shed to support my brother-in-law. I’m now much more involved and devote most of my time to acting as a peer support for the other members and keeping the shed running in any way I can.’

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Paul

‘I started coming to Men’s Shed in October 2016. In the past I’ve been homeless and during this time I spent about three months rough sleeping and sofa surfing. I was also struggling with my mental health. I wanted to do something that would help me manage my own health and allow me to grow as a person, in addition to giving back to the local community. Spending time with the others at the Men’s Shed and watching them make progress is really encouraging.’

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Robert

‘I’ve been coming to Men’s Shed for two and a half years after stumbling upon a flyer at the Recovery Cafe. I enjoy making things and was looking for something to do that would also allow me to get some exercise other than going to the gym. Being part of Men’s Shed has really broadened my horizons - I’ve had the chance to see and do things I wouldn’t have been able to previously.’

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Harry

‘I started coming to Men’s Shed earlier this year - I found out about it through Recovery Across Mental Health and the Integrated Alcohol Team. They thought it would be great for me, as I had become very isolated due to severe depression and anxiety, alcohol dependency and homelessness. Last year my father passed away and I inherited a property, but I couldn’t get access to it. This resulted in me spending four weeks living on the streets and I have since been living in temporary accommodation until I can move into my own home. Coming to Men’s Shed has been great for me. I feel less isolated knowing that I get to spend time with the same group of people every week with similar experiences and interests.’

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Allan

I was looking for a hobby or a club that would keep me busy and get me out of the house. Before I retired I was a spray painter by trade and have always enjoyed working with my hands. Going to Men’s Shed has given me the necessary tools and space to develop my woodworking skills – a hobby that I wouldn’t be able to do if it wasn’t for the support of Shelter. For me, Monday is Men’s Shed day: it’s part of my week now and I look forward to it.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Craig

I started coming to Men’s Shed earlier this year after talking to my counsellor about things I could do in my local community. After I left school, I took part in a few work experience programmes but when they came to an end I didn’t really have anything and that left me feeling very isolated and I became very anti-social. Despite being the youngest member of the group I’ve never felt like I couldn’t relate to the other members - the company is fantastic. Coming to Men’s Shed has given me a bit of stability, having something I know I am doing each week is good, and I look forward to it.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

James

Like a lot of the other guys, I heard about the Men’s Shed through a group I go to on a Thursday at Dykebar Hospital. I’ve struggled with bipolar disorder and alcoholism for a long time and there was a time where I felt like I needed a drink to get me out of bed in the morning. I attended Dykebar for some time until I was able to put my life back together again and get myself sober. Men’s Shed has been a great support for me as it has got me out learning new skills and mingling with other people and with that my confidence has soared.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Michael

I’ve been coming to Men’s Shed from the very beginning. I found out about it when Janice came to introduce herself and the service to my recovery group based in the Torley Unit at Dykebar Hospital. Although I have been sober for the last fifteen years, I would still describe myself as a recovering alcoholic. Being in recovery is a great way of life - if it wasn’t for the support of the Men’s Shed I wouldn’t be able to put the work into staying sober, nor would I be able to help others do the same.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Norrie

I started coming to Men’s Shed about two and a half years ago. It was recommended to me by Robert, whom I know from attending RAMH. At the time I was looking for something to get me out and about. For a while I have been sharing accommodation with someone that I don’t get along with and I am in the process of getting relocated with the support of the Richmond Fellowship. From coming to Men’s Shed I’ve learned new things and made lots of new friends. Coming to Men’s Shed has given me a reason to get excited about getting out of bed on a Monday morning.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Simon

I started coming to Men’s Shed about two years ago and I have struggled with alcoholism for quite some time. During my time spent in recovery the thing I have struggled with most is feeling isolated, as there aren’t many places you can go to socialise where alcohol isn’t readily available. Coming to groups like Men’s Shed once a week has been a great support for me in that respect. I find comfort in knowing that I have the option of coming here every week to do whatever I feel like doing that day, whether that be playing a game of pool, getting some fresh air on one of the walks or simply having a cuppa and a chat with a familiar face.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Stephen

I found out about Men’s Shed after I came across an old flyer in search of members in town one day. I showed it to my brother-in-law and we decided to go together and we come faithfully every week. We had both been looking for something to get us out and about again and the flyer seemed promising. I enjoy coming every week for the company and the conversation and I especially enjoy spending time at the allotment and going on the walks.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

Stephen H

I started coming to Men’s Shed in 2015 when it was first introduced to me at a recovery group I attend at Dykebar Hospital. I was an alcoholic for many years. When I first stopped drinking there wasn’t a lot out there in terms of support, that’s why I am so thankful for groups like the Recovery Cafe and Men’s Shed, they have given me a sense of purpose and have been a great resource to me for both my mental and emotional well-being. Men’s Shed, for me, is the reason I look forward to getting out of bed on a Monday morning to socialise and learn and build new relationships with people.

Photograph by Melissa Mitchell

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