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Men’s Sheds Initiative gets official launch in Donegal

Published on:  28 Nov 2011

The official launch of the Men’s Sheds Initiative for Donegal took place on Friday night in the Niall Mór Community & Enterprise Centre, Killybegs, one of two locations earmarked to locate the Men’s Sheds in the South West Donegal region.  The two year project, which is being administered by South West Donegal Communities Partnership Ltd. (SWDCP) draws on the considerable success of Men’s Sheds in Australia, and is designed to help older men who have lived through and being impacted by the Troubles, to connect with their local community.

The programme was officially launched by Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley TD. and is primarily funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Building Foundations’ Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme.  The project will address the issues of ongoing fear, distrust and lack of understanding between men from both communities including intergenerational activity. 

The Men’s Sheds will create spaces where older men can share and learn, leading to the rebuilding of relationships fractured by the conflict and to the breaking down of barriers that were built up during the periods of fear and anxiety generated during the conflict.  It is hoped that on completion, reconciliation will have been achieved among the older men in the community and through them between families and the wider community.

Some of the activities that will be mutually agreed by participants in each Shed may include woodwork, metalwork, photography, card-playing, darts, bowls, storytelling and other hobbies or pastimes.  Those participating in the Men’s Sheds will have ownership of the project and will guide and set down their own programme.

Through the provision of activities, which promote a sense of belonging, the SWDCP Men’s Shed project aims to achieve outcomes of positive ageing and well-being for those men who participate, as well as their partners, families and communities.

Special guest John Evoy, C.E.O. IMSA said: “It’s great to see the South West Donegal CDP facilitating the opportunity for the development of a Men’s Sheds in the area.   The Men’s Sheds gives an opportunity to local men to use their talent and skills to enrich the lives of men living in their own local area.   The IMSA (Irish Men’s Sheds Association) are very grateful to the International Fund for Ireland for their support of this initiative.”

In attendance at the launch, International Fund for Ireland Senior Development Officer, Paddy Harte Jnr., said: “We believe that the Men’s Sheds project will have a very positive impact for reconciliation and peace-building in Donegal, fulfilling one of our key objectives at the International Fund for Ireland.  The Men’s Sheds will make a positive contribution to the local community and to efforts to promote social inclusion. ”

Mr Paddy Harte also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for almost twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Commenting on the programme, Roger Curran, Chairperson of SWDCP said: “The Men’s Sheds project will bring men from the two communities together, in a safe shared space.  It will help them to see the many things which unite us, which far outweighs that which divides.  And it will bring together young and older men, to share their stories, skills and knowledge.”


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