Kingdom Men’s Shed meets Monday to Friday from 11am daily. It is a place where:
- Health is promoted by adding purpose, stimulation and company
- Adult education is complemented by Shedders learning from each other on the job
- Community resilience is enhanced by creating community workspaces
- The environment is supported by making with discarded materials, repairing and refurbishment
- Civil society is strengthened by addressing under-representation of men in the community sector
- Community health and wellbeing is enhanced as there is a shortage of ‘real life’ facilities where those who need supporting back into normality can find an open community.
Kingdom Men’s Shed is a place where men meet to socialize, learn new skills and hone old ones, share company and work on projects in a workshop facilitating skills development in joinery, electrical work and gardening. In addition, Kingdom Men’s Shed has been involved in personal development projects and day trips to places of interest to the members.
What a year it has been, we started off 2020 with a flurry. We had a lot planned but of course were not able to fulfil our full schedule once the lockdown came in mid-March.
We were involved in a weekly walking programme which saw us walking different routes such as Newcastle strand, the Silent Valley, Kilbroney Park, Kilkeel Harbour, the local countryside.
We made a visit to Lislea Men’s Shed for an Irish Men’s Shed networking event.
Sandra Gordon from Cancer Focus has been along on Mondays to talk to us about the various cancers, often prompting enlightening conversations on this serious disease.
Joanne, ‘the Bee Woman’, fully attired in her bee keeping gear, held us spellbound while she recalled her development as a serious beekeeper.
On Fridays, Nancy Fearon held her art class and you can see some of our efforts displayed outside the shed.
We continue to look for grants to fund our various projects and Kathy Gallagher, Development Officer Southern Age-Well Network Ballybot House, deserves thanks for her efforts on our behalf and also our friend Stephanie Rodgers, ASDA Community Officer, who helped us secure funding from The ASDA Foundation.
We also took part in two Men’s Shed’ s residentials with one group enjoying an overnight stay in Drogheda while a different group went to Cavan to visit their shed, the First World War Centre and Virginia Men’s Shed. This was all superbly organised by the County Down Rural Community Network.
Things were looking good but on 16th March the lockdown’ came.
Members continued to keep in contact with each other by phone.
Others took on the responsibility to ensure the fish were fed and the freshly planted potatoes and ripening strawberries were watered during the hot spell in May and June.
A meeting was held outdoor on 21st June, and it was decided by the members that the Shed would reopen Monday to Friday from 11am but that different men should come each day in order to maintain social distancing and other Covid19 protocols.
In early July the Unckles fish boxes which we had been working on since January were set up in various locations around Kilkeel. This project was initiated by Kilkeel Chamber of Commerce.
Our planned trip to the World Gathering of Men’s Shed in September in Galway was postponed due to covid.
However, this is how we have been working ever since. We have done a lot of work to the fencing in the back garden. We spend as much time as possible outside and are glad that the shed is providing an important social link. At the minute we are getting ready for Christmas and you can see our wooden Christmas trees and bird boxes on our Facebook page.
One thing that we have learned from all of this is that the Shed provides a very important weapon in the battle with mental health which can very quickly come upon us in a situation like we are all experiencing at the moment.
We like to feel the Shed is somewhere you can feel at home, have a laugh, pursue practical interests and stay active; some like to be using the tools while others just want to talk or even maybe just listen.
We now look forward to being open fully again in the new year and to developing projects which prove useful and interesting, both mentally and physically, to our members.
At present we have partnered with Social Farms & Gardens to find homes for a limited number of apple, plum, raspberry, blackcurrant and redcurrant plants. This is a new initiative that has arisen out of the covid crisis and the revelation of both the food insecurity that exists within our communities, and the great desire and capacity of people to share what they produce with their neighbours.
The idea of the fruit forest is to provide the community with a range of fruit bushes trees herbs and bulbs that will not only produce food for you, your family, your neighbours and local wildlife on an ongoing basis, but will be a living resource for propagation and distribution of cuttings, offsets and sets for years to come. The range of fruiting times means that a long season will result, and with exchange between those who are growing, there should be fresh healthy fruit available from early summer to late autumn.
If you want to adopt a fruit tree or fruit bush for your garden, please get in touch. To ensure adherence to covid protocols, to book a visit contact us in advance by phone 028 4176 3681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org