Philip’s found friendship through his local Men’s Shed - FitzRoy
Man in khaki green hoodie holds a model truck up for the camera

Philip’s found friendship through his local Men’s Shed

Published: May 31, 2024

Philip is supported by our Norfolk Support at Home team, who provide nine hours of support a week. This ranges from helping Philip to manage his house to shopping or attending appointments. When he moved house last year, Philip found himself feeling quite isolated, so Chrissy, who supports him regularly, had a think about ways they could solve this. After all, the FitzRoy values do include seeing the person and being creative!

Chrissy found out that there was a Men’s Shed – a community workshop space – locally and talked with Philip about it. Chrissy said: “I thought Men’s Sheds sounded like a brilliant idea, so I supported Philip to find out more about it for himself online. Philip enjoys building models and liked the sound of the Men’s Sheds, so we planned how we’d build up his confidence to go along to the local one.

“Our plan was broken down into lots of steps, starting off with just driving past, but I was amazed when, just a few weeks after I first found out about it, we went past and Philip felt confident enough to go in there and then.

“That first time, there were five men at the Shed and they were so lovely. They greeted Philip warmly and made him very welcome. Within a few months, Philip was so confident about going that he’d started walking there on his own on days I’m not supporting him. He takes his models with him and has his own workspace for them.

“I’m thrilled it’s been such a success – I thought it sounded great when I first heard about it, but I honestly couldn’t have imagined just how much Philip would enjoy it and how welcome the members would make him feel. It’s brilliant to see him now so confident about going along by himself. Thank you Men’s Shed for making this wonderful experience possible.”

Mike Jackson, the Suffolk ambassador for Men’s Sheds UK, said: “Men’s Sheds offer people a chance to get together and have a chat, which is so good for your mental health and wellbeing. It can be all too easy for men in particular to just go off to the shed in their garden and not actually talk to anyone. At the Kessingland Shed, the first half hour is always about having a cup of tea and putting the world to rights before we all get stuck into our various activities.

“Our Shed is very community focused, and we make everybody welcome – despite the name, around a third of our current members here are women. As well as the camaraderie and sense of belonging that comes from being a member of a Men’s Shed, there’s a real element of giving back to the community too. We’ve recently built and installed a new gate for a couple who’d had their garden broken into, for instance.

“Philip has really found himself a niche here – he very quickly had his own corner set up for his models. If he does need a bit of assistance, there are always several people around who can stop and give him a hand. I have noticed though that he’s already achieved a number of things that he thought he’d never be able to do when he first joined, which is what we’re all about here, supporting people to learn new skills from each other. We do have spaces for a couple more members at the moment, so if you’re local and interested, come and have a chat with us. Anyone interested in Sheds in other areas can contact UK Men’s Sheds to find out more.”

Norfolk Support at Home Deputy Manager Samantha said:

This is a brilliant example of the FitzRoy values in action – by seeing the person, Chrissy has found a solution that really works for Philip. Supporting him to build up to going along that first time really paid off and it’s fantastic to see Philip loving his time at the Men’s Shed and feeling confident enough to go along by himself. What a brilliant outcome – well done Chrissy and Philip!