Pat Towey, a Support Worker representing the Irish Men’s Shed Association in counties Roscommon and Leitrim, has appealed to people to look out for the well-being of members of Men’s Sheds at this very difficult time.
Mr. Towey has also warned that inaccurate information on social media is causing “untold stress and anxiety”. And he confirmed that members of local Men’s Sheds are themselves ready and willing to help others at this time of need.
Mr. Towey said: “In these uncertain times, we are asking the general public to remember their dads, uncles, brothers, etc. who attend a shed somewhere in the county on a regular basis. There, these men experience great happiness, getting to personally know new friends, learning new skills, and enjoying being part of the Irish Men’s Shed Association where care and attention and the well-being of each and everyone is our absolute goal.
“While sheds are in lockdown mode, it’s very important that members keep talking to each other. Unfortunately, some of our members are influenced by what is circulating on social media platforms. Some of this information which is being shared online is causing untold stress and anxiety”.
Pat said that while members of Men’s Sheds are obviously worried about the virus, they want to help others too (all Covid-19 guidelines will be followed).
“Shed members across Roscommon and Leitrim are willing and able to assist with checking on the elderly, delivering groceries, making phone calls, checking on animal stock…whatever it takes, we will help. We are also there for each other. The communities in towns and villages have been very good to sheds. Contact your shed committee for further advice”.
Mr. Towey had this request to the public. “We’d like to ask the public to leave all coronavirus updates to the HSE, and by doing so clear a pathway on social media so that the real messages and concerns will finally get through”.
He assured any shed members who are confused or in need of clarity on anything that “we will be in touch”.
He confirmed that Men’s Shed staff have the following suggestions:
1. Set up a WhatsApp group or group text with members (please contact the IMSA office if you require help with this).
2. Check in through phone or email with IMSA. The staff are here to provide advice and support. The staff will continue to operate as normal in answering your emails on mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone on 01 891 6150.
3. Operate a ‘buddy system’ – We suggest ensuring that everyone in your shed ‘buddies up’ with another member and stays in contact. This will help to ensure that members, including those that are living alone, are not isolated during this difficult time.
4. Ask sheds to identify members who may like to receive a ‘social call’ and ask their permission to exchange name/phone number and explain that their local IMSA Volunteer or IMSA staff member will make a phone call to them on a weekly basis (or more where required).