Men’s Shed making a difference to the environment at Rookwood Hospital

Men’s Sheds Cardiff have been making a difference to the environment at Rookwood Hospital by helping to bring nature closer to patients who are in hospital for long periods of time.

Rookwood Hospital is predominantly a rehabilitation hospital, where patients suffering from spinal injuries and brain injuries are often at Rookwood for long periods of time.  By bringing nature closer to the hospital it helps patients feel more connected with the outdoors and stimulated seeing the seasons change, through the flora and fauna in the grounds.

Men’s Sheds are similar to garden sheds, providing a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about making social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.

Men’s Shed Cardiff members, John Lucas from Llandaff, Tony Denning from Danescourt, Ken Hares from Rhiwbina and Chris Davey from Fairwater have been helping to make bird feeders, hanging bird tables and bug hotels for Rookwood out of a variety of materials and using a wide range of skills for this project.

Men’s Shed Cardiff skills are used by many in the local community, they’ve helped the Second Llandaff Scouts by making built in cupboard storage, assisted Church in Wales Primary School by refurbishing their gazebo to be used as an outdoor classroom and made wig stands for patients undergoing cancer treatment at Velindre Hospital.

The group Cardiff & Vale Health Charity have been working with are based on Maes Y Coed Road, Llanishen.

Simone Joslyn, Head of Arts and Health Charity said: “I’d like to thank Men’s Shed Cardiff for helping to contribute to the health and well-being of our patients and improving the habitat for nature at Rookwood Hospital, University Hospital Llandough, Barry Hospital and at Our Orchard.

“Patients can’t leave their wards, so for them to be able to look out of the window to see life happening it makes a huge difference.  Simple changes and introducing nature in to where you live and work really helps.  By putting up bird table and bug hotels helps to bring the hospital experience alive.

“Groups like Men’s Shed Cardiff help to engage people out in the community in different ways, using the expertise of those who go along, to teach the younger generation new skills and also to provide a “safe place” where men feel they can talk about problems and issues that are affecting them and to be signposted to a service that might be able to help in a time of need.

“By working collaboratively with Men’s Shed on these projects, Cardiff and Vale UHB is a step closer to achieving the well-being goals of “A Prosperous Wales”, “A Resilient Wales”, “A Healthier Wales”, and “A Wales of Cohesive Communities”, which are outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations Act.”

Psychotherapist, John Lucas, Men’s Shed Cardiff attendee said: “I work with people every day and I’ve found that engaging with people brings out the best in them, unless you connect with them and find common ground with them you lose them.

“I love helping out at Men’s Shed, it really gives you the feel-good factor, you are doing something that can benefit people in the future, especially doing projects for kids in schools.  The reaction you get is something else when you hand over a project.”

Retired engineer Ken Hares said: “I enjoy the camaraderie, the social side of things, it’s nice to get involved in projects.

“We have a number of people recovering from strokes who have lost their confidence.  They come along to groups, talk a lot about other things apart from woodwork like sports

“We love taking on projects, to get involved with the Health charity gives us a focal point.  We get so much pleasure out of making things for the community and seeing members progress with their skills.

“Once you join Men’s Shed, you’re a member for life.”

To get involved in Men’s Shed Cardiff please contact Tony Denning by emailing captnnat1869@hotmail.co.uk