Frade Middlesbrough Shedder Tony

Shedder Stories: Tony

 

The Men’s Shed project within Frade’s Belle Vue premises is flourishing as more participants are eager to become ‘shedders’.

Men from a variety of backgrounds are attending and each gets something different from the experience.

From Patrick, the retired joiner, eager to pass on his knowledge, to the long term unemployed wanting to learn new skills, everyone has benefitted from the scheme.

Typical of the ‘shedders’ is Tony, unemployed since 2002 as a result of an accident at work and desperately seeking something worthwhile to occupy his time.

His broken elbow has long since healed but the longer he has been out of work, the harder it gets to find an employer willing to take a chance on him.

“I was a labourer”

he says

“I have no skills to offer and potential employers take one look at these (he shows me his heavily tattooed hands) and they back off”.

Tony had no idea what the Men’s Shed movement was about and did not even know we were starting one when he initially called into the shop.

He was looking for volunteering opportunities but Shaun, the Shop Manager, introduced him to Jamsheed, who is in charge of the project.

A bond was formed and Tony started to come in at every available chance in order to help initiate the shed.

His first carpentry lessons were whilst helping to construct the benches for the members to use.

He was particularly keen to use his new skills to make an adapted, wheelchair friendly, workbench for another shedder, Gary.

When asked what the biggest benefits were of joining the Shed, he could not choose between the skills learned that will help him at home and hopefully even a better chance of finding work, and the fact that he now has more purpose to his life.

“It can be tough,”

he says

“living on your own, no family and no job. This is keeping me busy, I’m learning loads and I’m making friends”

More men have approached us about participating but there are still spaces available.

 

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