Omagh Men’s Shed helping those with mental health issues thrive after lockdowns

Via Peters

Following a traumatic couple of years for many elderly people living during lockdowns, one Omagh community group is helping local men to get back out socialising again.

Omagh Men’s Shed has been on the go since 2013, but faced a difficult couple of years with many of its members having to isolate at home due to Covid 19.

Now the group is hoping to go from strength to strength in helping local men with mental health issues and other disabilities to come together for support.

Omagh Men’s Shed secretary Ciaran Gallagher said men from in and around the Omagh area come together at the group, which has close to 50 members, to take part in everything from gardening to day trips to other parts of Ireland.

“We were formed in 2013 and it was a mixture of council and voluntary led like minded people who came together,” Ciaran told MyTyrone.

“Several people had been talking about the town about the idea of it, but there was no real organisation until then.

“We have been operating since and really it is an organisation for men who just want to get out of the house and meet like-minded people.

“We run a lot of activities which help men’s mental and physical health.

“In the last two years there are a lot of men feeling that fear of coming out into crowds.

“The chit chat and buzz of the Men’s Shed definitely helps them with that.

“The amount of people we had coming in went completely down after the first lockdown obviously, but we worked with a number of organisations to provide food parcels and things like that.

One of the best aspects of the group that members enjoy the most are the trips away, 72-year-old Ciaran says.

“It runs on a casual basis where men can drop in whenever they want, but we meet regularly as well.

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“One of the things our members say to us is that they enjoy the trips away that we organise.

“When we go away, would you believe some of the men actually gossip more than women.

“We do have people who would have physical disabilities, mental health problems and things like that.

“They are all individuals who bring their special skills in with them and that’s one of the best parts about it.”

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