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Men in Sheds’ project to tackle loneliness among winners of outreach awards

19 October 2018

The awards were presented by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker


The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, with (left to right) Anthony Williams, the Revd Helen Scanlan, and Carolun Anderson

The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, with (left to right) Anthony Williams, the Revd Helen Scanlan, and Carolun Anderson

CHURCHES that are adapting their outreach to stay relevant in a changing world have been recognised by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, in an award scheme that encourages innovation.

Projects singled out for awards included one, Men in Sheds, that tackles isolation among older men, and another that has set up a Christian presence on the “Curry Mile”, in Manchester.

Others initiatives that were praised included a lunch club that brings together 11-year-olds and elderly and isolated people in Chorlton, and projects working with refugees and low-income families.

Dr Walker said that the awards were “a celebration of the inspirational and innovative work that our churches are doing”; and he encouraged all churches to share their good ideas.

It is the second year in which the diocese of Manchester has run the award-scheme Church for a Different World. It was set up to encourage churches to “be alert to doing things differently, and make the world a different and better place through its actions and engagement with the community”, a diocesan spokesperson said.

Men in Sheds was started by St Paul’s, Heaton Moor, together with a community group, Heatons Together, and Stockport Council. The group offers companionship as well as the chance to share in woodwork projects, such as making bat and bird boxes, among other items.

Anthony Williams, who helps to run the group, said: “Anything you can do in a shed, instead of doing it on your own in a shed at the bottom of the garden, come and do it together as a group. We make planters for the park, and are making a large sign for Heaton Chapel railway station.

“For some people, Men in Sheds might be the only thing they do all week. One man comes whose wife is in a care home, and he now lives alone. For the first six months, it was a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to everything. Now, he chats away while he works.”

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