World leaders shed light on men’s group

(l-r) Mike Jenn, chairman of the UK Men's Shed Association, David Helmers, CEO of the Australian Men's Shed Association, John Evoy, CEO of the Irish Men's Shed and John Worley, chairman of Havant Men's Shed.''Picture: Sarah Standing (142931-939)
(l-r) Mike Jenn, chairman of the UK Men's Shed Association, David Helmers, CEO of the Australian Men's Shed Association, John Evoy, CEO of the Irish Men's Shed and John Worley, chairman of Havant Men's Shed.''Picture: Sarah Standing (142931-939)
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AN Irishmen, an Australian and a Englishman walk into a shed.

It sounds like the beginning of a joke.

But that’s what happened when the world’s men’s shed leaders met at The Plaza in Havant yesterday.

The chairmen of the Australian, Irish and UK men’s sheds travelled to Havant to discuss the growth of the group, which is for retired men to keep their social life active.

The event invited local members of men’s sheds, as well as people interested in joining, an opportunity to speak to founders of the movement.

It all started with one shed in Australia – and now thousands of men’s shed groups are springing up all over the world – with three in Havant alone.

David Helmers, 47, the CEO of Australia Men’s Sheds, said: ‘It’s great to see all these members of the men’s sheds face-to-face and pick their brains. I thought when you come halfway across the world, you might as well see them all.

‘I’ve been part of the movement for eight years and it’s just taken off. Nobody planned it would be that successful – it just happened.

‘The men’s shed movement is filling a void in men’s lives who don’t plan to retire.’

Simon Ferro, 41, from Purbrook, is a member of Havant’s Men’s Shed and decided to join as his wife is a full-time carer. He said: ‘I felt that age wasn’t a barrier and everyone welcomed me very quickly. I go every Monday and it gives me two hours of respite every week. My wife’s really happy I’ve got something to do and it’s definitely given me more confidence.’

Men take part in a variety of activities, such as community projects, woodwork and socialising.

David Guest, founder of a men’s shed in Havant, said: ‘We’ve already got 25 members and our workshop is being built in Havant town centre. This event is terribly important as it’s a lot to do with men’s health.’