Reddish Vale Men in Sheds was set up in April 2014 to connect older adult males who, as a group, are particularly prone to isolation and the negative impacts associated with it.
Part of a global movement, ‘men’s sheds’ are becoming a very popular place for men. Typically, men don’t like group situations where they may be expected to chat about their feelings or health concerns. These sheds are turning out to be the ideal place for this, the men usually have a pastime in common which brings them together initially and then (just like their female counterparts) find themselves talking about other things like health, money, work, family, and so on.
In Reddish, the men get together to repair and maintain bicycles and have received funding from Forever Manchester to cover the costs of a trained mechanic to check the work and that bikes are safe. Through rebuilding bikes, the men find that it rebuilds their confidence, gives them new knowledge which they can apply at home and in other areas of life, and puts something positive back into our own community. Their vision is to build a community which offers a source of affordable bikes and maintenance support to the people of Stockport. Recently the group have restored bikes that have been donated to local schools so all children can have access to decent bikes.
Paul McGregor, Chair of Reddish Vale Men in Sheds, joined the group over a year ago with the encouragement of his doctor after a period of ill-health. He had always had an interest in bikes but wanted to learn how to maintain them properly. Once he had regained his confidence in his practical skills, he found he was developing his self-confidence as a person.
He said: “For members, it ensures that we meet other people – other men, Friends of the Vale, the general public – every week. We all eat together, both at the bike sessions and at Christmas times. We often write to, phone or email each other. We plan to ride together socially on summer days when we wouldn’t normally meet up and to picnic in scenic areas. We work outdoors in all kinds of weather and that, plus the regular cycling, has definitely improved our health.”