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Meeting in Badenoch will set up a new Men’s Shed to tackle mental issues

By Tom Ramage

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“Poor mental health and loneliness is a huge issue amongst older men in the valley and we are set to do something about it.”

The words of Colin Whitton, who is leading a steering group which is determined to establish the Badenoch Men's Shed.

STEERING THE WAY: Colin Whitton is leading the local steering committee
STEERING THE WAY: Colin Whitton is leading the local steering committee

“The aim of the shed is, essentially, to give our older men a purpose again and a chance simply to blether with old friends and make new ones.

“Men's needs are much less complex as a rule but equally as important as anyone else’s. We are going to focus on that. Frankly, the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association have nailed it with their strapline, ‘Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder’. It says it all.”

Mr Whitton confirmed the group is now in the process of forming a constitution and registering as a charity.

“There has been a wave of support for this community project from local tradesmen, councillors and local people.

“ We are also being supported by Age Scotland, The Highlands Senior Citizens Network and of course, The Scottish Men's Shed Association, whose aim is to combat loneliness and promote positive mental health amongst adult older males.

“We will be looking for funding to support the initiative and have our eye on the old janitors house beside Kingussie High School which we hope to complete a community asset transfer and create a multi-use facility for BMS and other local community groups.

“We would plan to create our shed which would consist of a workshop and a social area where the older guys can meet and have a blether and the workshop can be whatever they want it to be in terms of making and repairing.

“I have spoken to Ian Adamson, head at Kingussie High School and we agree that this could create some positive outcomes in terms of some of the older pupils working with some of the older guys.

“A drop-in on next Wednesday (April 24) at Talla nan Ros in Kingussie - 7pm to 9pm - is all about engaging with the local community, with details and trying to get their engagement in terms of support and highlighting potential clients who would become 'Shedders'

“Shinty Memories are on board.

“The sole focus is supporting Scotland’s Shedders and their supporters to create Men’s Sheds in their community to benefit their health and wellbeing across Scotland. If you need help, inspiration or just a chat, you have come to the right place.”

Any Strathy readers wanting more information can visit https://scottishmsa.org.uk.

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