Hello potential supporters of Women in Sheds!
The Sheds are a place of sanctuary and friendship, where people can come together and learn new skills and make new friends. Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility or income. Social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Studies show that being lonely or isolated can even impact on blood pressure and is closely linked to depression.
Age UK Cheshire created the first UK’s Men in Sheds – four enormous sheds, equivalent to industrial units – where isolated, older men meet to undertake activities such as woodworking and metalworking, a kind of youth club for the over 50’s! We have been piloting our Women in Sheds for one day a week since January, using one of our existing Men in Sheds venues on a day it is usually closed. So far, given our limited ability to expand, it has been a fantastic success, we already have over 30 regular attendees and it is now time to give the women what they want - a Shed of their very own!
We know that attending a Shed helps to increase a person’s wellbeing. One of our female attendees recently told us that since attending the Shed every Friday, they now have "a greater sense of wellbeing... learning new skills within a friendly like-minded group". Another lady told us that “even when I am not at the shed I’m thinking all the time about new projects to work on. I have discovered a side to me that I never knew I had!”
Women in Sheds has many parallels to our Men in Sheds project, we aim to engage with women aged over 50 who would like to get out of the house, make new friends and learn new skills. As well as reducing the risks of loneliness and social isolation, we will encourage our attendees to learn new skills and will be running classes in areas such as woodworking and DIY. We find that many older women don’t have the skills to carry out the simplest of DIY tasks around the home and this is what they tell us they are keen to learn.
Now we are beginning the next chapter in our Sheds story with the Women in Sheds project and this is where we need your help. We are looking to raise £60,000 to help us get Women in Sheds started, this includes 18 months of running costs including premises, staff costs, H&S, utilities and consumables and will also enable us to kit out the Shed to include bandsaws, lathes, workbenches, planers, circular saws and hand tools.
Obviously, it would be amazing if we reach our target and can open a new Shed for Women immediately, but if not we are a determined bunch here at Age UK Cheshire and guarantee that every penny raised as part of this campaign will go towards us opening one in the not too distant future.
Please support this brilliant project, we know we can make it the fantastic success it deserves with your help.