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‘Dealing with the issues of isolation and loneliness:’ Men’s Sheds group taking form in Nanaimo

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NANAIMO — A local father and son duo are organizing a group for men who want to hang out, socialize, and improve their mental health.

Kenn Hample and his son are in the process of bringing a Men’s Sheds group to Nanaimo, an idea growing in popularity as a place for adult men to meet and find comradery.

Hample said it’ll be a place for men to get together and “do guy things.”

“A separate building where they can go and work on things at their own pace, at their own initiative, things that they enjoy doing. Perhaps some hobbies or building things, getting together with one or two other buddies…and a chance to be themselves.”

Their society is registered, now they need to recruit members and figure out what their organization will look like.

A launch meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 at 6 p.m. at the Nanaimo Family Life Association (NFLA) on Townsite Rd. It’s open to anyone who identifies as a man and is over the age of 18.

The NFLA has offered space for their inaugural meeting, and the United Way B.C. has given them some funding to get things off the ground.

Hample said despite the name, their meeting place doesn’t have to be in a shed or garage, nor does it even need to be a consistent, physical meeting space.

“The notion is that it’s the getting together, the socializing, the networking that creates the Men’s Shed. The name was developed back in Australia a couple of decades ago, and it referred to that kind of backyard shed where men used to go and hang out together and work on things.”

He said there are already around 35 Men’s Sheds groups in B.C., including groups active in Parksville, Comox, and Salt Spring Island.

Duncan, Sooke, and Victoria are also in the process of forming their own gatherings.

There are about 3,000 groups in 12 countries, including 75 in Canada.

Hample said originally, the groups were targeted at senior and retired men to help combat isolation and loneliness, something common with men especially as they get older.

“But the movement has found over time that there are folks who aren’t necessarily in that age bracket who for one reason or another, might feel isolated and would enjoy just being with a group of men. There are no age limits other than being over 18.”

According to a July 2022 report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, of the estimated 4,000 suicide deaths in Canada each year, 75 per cent are men

Hample said there is no commitment required, and it’s not meant to be a form of group therapy or any other type of scheduled program.

“We focus on the need to help men deal with isolation and loneliness. Men are free to come and go and do whatever they wish. The benefits arise from the fact that they are getting together, they’re networking, socializing with like-minded people, and in that way, they are dealing with the issues of isolation and loneliness.”

To register or to learn more about the Nanaimo Men’s Sheds, you can send an email to info@nanaimomensshed.org.

Join the conversation. Submit your letter to NanaimoNewsNOW and be included on The Water Cooler, our letters to the editor feature.

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  • Date

    May 16, 2023

  • By

    Nanaimo News Now


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