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The members of the Torrington Men's Shed reveal the train they built for the Barnstaple Railway Station

The Torrington Men's Shed

2,948 Views - Posted by RBTV at 18:48pm on Monday 29th July 2019 - Now Streaming in HD

According to research, loneliness and isolation can be as bad for our health as smoking and lack of exercise, and men typically find it harder to build up a network of friends.

The Men's Sheds association believe that a Men's Shed can change that, so what is a Men's Shed?

On the Men's Shed association website, they described them as 'similar to garden sheds - a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men's Sheds are the opposite. They're about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.

'Sheds are whatever the members (or Shedders as we call them) want them to be. Although labelled sheds, they often aren't sheds at all. They can be empty offices, portable cabin's, warehouses, garages, and in at least one case, a disused mortuary. Some Sheds are purpose-built workshops, but they rarely start out that way. Many don't have premises at all in the beginning and instead form a group that meets regularly for the social connection, company, and camaraderie until they can find somewhere to kit out with tools. Many Sheds get involved in community projects too - restoring village features, helping maintain parks and green spaces, and building things for schools, libraries, and individuals in need.

'Activities in Sheds vary greatly, but you can usually find woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring, electronics, model buildings or even car building in a typical Shed. Sheds typically attract older men, but many have younger members and women too. Whatever the activity, the essence of a Shed is not a building, but the connections and relationships between its members.'

Torrington based Men's Shed recently built a wooden train for the disused platform at Barnstaple train station for the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, as part of their ongoing work to the gardens at the station.

Rebecca Catterall from the Devon and Cornwall Rail partnership said: "The idea for the planter came from a similar project run by the Three Rivers' Community Rail Partnership at Chandlers Ford station in Hampshire.

"We wanted something we could use to add in extra plants and flowers to brighten up the station that would look great all year round. The fact that we could support a local charity at the same time was even better.

We interviewed Colin Porter, Chair of the Torrington Men's Shed.


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