Spar retailer Pat Towey of Ballaghaderreen on why Men’s Sheds matter

Spar retailer Pat Towey of Ballaghaderreen on why Men’s Sheds matter
Spar retailer Pat Towey volunteering his time for the Men's Shed Projects - helping men take care of their own health and well being

A Spar retailer in Ballaghaderreen is putting his heart and soul in to helping the Men’s Shed project in Ballaghaderreen, a small rural area in Roscommon. The next issue of IF&CR will feature a full length interview with Pat on why he believes the Men’s Shed Project is vital to improving the health and well being of men aged over 45 across Ireland – in particular, men isolated and alone in rural areas.

As a retailer, running a business, Pat knows his customers well – and through his membership oft eh Chamber of Commerce became aware of the Men’s Shed project. He decided to get involved and help the local project find a place to call its own – especially as so many Men’s Shed projects have difficulty finding premises.

Health and wellbeing

“All over Ireland there are in the region of 450 sheds supporting men of all ages that have finished their working lives” Pat told IF&CR. “Sheds play a pivotal role supporting men of all ages across all divides. I first got involved in setting up a Men’s shed in Ballaghaderreen in 2018. Our numbers grew from 0 to 50 in 3 years – with no recruitment, just word of mouth .

“Today I  also am a support volunteer worker  across four counties – Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Roscommon. Regardless of how successful you become in your business life, you will eventually come face to face  with retirement, which  can be a lonely journey. I am one of 19 other volunteers who together support Sheds with advice and guidance of start ups, and strategies to survive.

Loneliness and isolation

“The Irish Men’s Shed association is based in Bluebell in Dublin, and I can assure you that many people across our industry will find their way into a a shed  where kindness, decency, and respect is the norm.  Here  you will meet other men with many skills, Its never to late to learn how to use a smart phone, play an instrument, make a lamp , or enjoy starring in a film. Whatever your ambition is when you retire a shed can make it happen.”

Connection and camaraderie

Pat’s enthusiasm for the Men’s Shed Project is clearly evident – he believes it makes a massive difference to older, isolated men in rural and urban communities – especially as men – Irish men in particular – are notorious for not sharing their heath concerns or talking about their emotional well-being.

As a convenience store and forecourt owner and operator, Pat knows only too well about hard work and the importance of giving back to your local community. His tireless voluntary work with Men’s Shed is an inspiration – read all about it in our next edition.