Men’s club helps rebuild lives in twilight years

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A CLUB for men over 55 has been lauded as a ‘sanctuary’ by its regular visitors. The ‘Men’s Shed’ run by St Luke’s Parochial Trust in Bunhill, Islington aims to bring together men who have lost confidence in later life.

Activities at the Men’s Shed include gardening and growing vegetables, beer making, snooker tournaments and cookery classes. Members also take trips across London, beer tasting at Borough Market and picnicking in Victoria Park.

The organisation is part of the Men’s Sheds Association which provides community spaces across the UK for men to connect, converse and create through activities similar to those of garden sheds.

Graham Reeves, the Men’s Shed Coordinator said: “A lot of men lose their identity and independence from either losing their job, a loved one, or through worsening health.

For many it is difficult to admit that they are lonely, so coming here to play snooker or do some gardening is certainly an escape, especially when making friends with guys in similar situations.”

Alan, 74, a Men’s Shed regular who’s been attending for 19 years, commented: “I’m not your average 74-year-old, I go to the gym every day and I go clubbing.

“But this place, it’s like a sanctuary. They won’t have racism, they won’t have homophobia, and they won’t have sexism. Basically, we all get on really well.”

The club also serves to help those with deteriorating physical or mental health.

Graham, 55, underwent serious surgery that meant he could no longer work as a printer – a job that was his life for over 30 years. Men’s Shed was recommended to him by his doctor, and he still visits regularly.

“I would have gone mad without it, it gets me out of the house. We’ve just started brewing our own beer – it’s nice to get involved.”