An Australian-born men’s health movement is making its way to City of Coquitlam.
The concept behind the growing Men’s Shed movement is to give men of all ages a place where they can socialize and work on projects of their choosing.
The idea began in Australia but quickly spread to New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom before making its way to Canada.
The first Men’s Shed in Canada was started four years ago in Winnipeg, and now has about 51 members.
Members meet twice a week to play card games, go for walks and work on projects, among other things, said Doug Mackie, founder and chair of Men’s Sheds Manitoba.
“The highest rate of completed suicide in Canada are men 67 or older,” Mackie said. “And why do they do this? Because they stop working, they no longer have a paycheque, they’re underfoot at home, they feel that they’re not worth as much as they were before.”
The Men’s Shed gives men a place to talk openly about anything they want, Mackie said.
“They know that they can come every Tuesday afternoon and there’s going to be some camaraderie, there’s going to be some kidding… It allows for open conversation,” he said. “If you don’t, then you’re less happy, your mentality can deteriorate because you’re not able to have an open discussion.”
Meanwhile in Coquitlam, it is still early days. The shed has less than a dozen members, who meet once every two weeks. Their initial goal is to get enough members to form a non-profit society, and then go after some funding. Later they hope to get a place of their own, where they can work on projects, meet for coffee and talk.
“Our last meeting was in Blue Mountain Park, where we met and did some wood carving. It is a good opportunity to get out of the house and meet others,” said one member. “Next meeting we are going to visit the Coquitlam Amateur Radio Club.”