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First post of 2019

Christmas Time……

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News

We appear to be well and truly into the midst of the Christmas season now, and with less than two weeks to go until Christmas Day, it’s very easy to get caught up in the hype and commercialism that seems to begin earlier, and grow in intensity every year.  I know that I definitely saw Christmas trees displayed in one of the large shops in Cork City as early as last August, and the towers of chocolates and biscuits were in many supermarkets from the first of November.
In the midst of all this hype and commercialism it is very easy to forget that Christmas is not a time of joy for everyone.  Some may have lost a loved one around this time of year and for them it’s a time of loss and sadness, and they can see little to celebrate.  Likewise, some people simply don’t have someone with whom to share the joys of the Christmas season, so for them the giving and receiving are not-existent and the loneliness is increased.
So what can we do?  Well, we can all check in on a neighbour or friend whom we know to be alone or having a tough time around Christmas.  Invite them out for a coffee or a pint, or just phone them for a chat.  Such a small thought from us can mean a huge amount for a friend or neighbour.

Exciting times.
As one of the very few ‘shedless’ Men’s Shed groups in Ireland, we are very excited and delighted that we are making some good progress on finally getting a shed for ourselves.  Obviously, the cornerstone of and Men’s Shed group has to be the shed, and while we’re delighted to have the use of the facilities at the Edmond Rice Centre every Friday for our meet-ups, it’s just not a shed!  We are absolutely delighted that Midleton Parish have given us the use of a site, and we are now proceeding with getting drawings finalised and working on getting planning permission.  While all of this is happening, our main task over the coming months will be fund-raising.  This is a huge job of work for our small group, and we hope the people and businesses from Midleton and surrounding areas will support us so we can support the community with more endeavours such as the Dam Easy floodgates we installed recently in several houses around the town.

Anti-Social Behaviour.
At our last meeting we have a very good and wide-ranging discussion about Anti-Social Behaviour in the area.  It is disgraceful that elderly and infirm members of the community who are not in a position to defend themselves are preyed upon by young and not-so-young locals who appear to think nothing of banging on doors and windows of other people’s homes in the dead of night, and scaring the occupants out of their wits.  In an effort to get a better understanding of this outrageous scourge on vulnerable people in the locality we have decided to ask the community garda to come to one of our meetings in the near future to discuss this worrying topic, and to explain if there is anything we as a group can do to help.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
Our new website is www.midletonmensshed.com
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MidletonMensShed2018

Our Man in Calcutta

Midleton Men’s Shed chairman Niall Coffey recently took on a significant challenge; he went on a sixteen-day volunteering visit to West Bengal in India.  After fundraising for the trip over the previous several months, Niall travelled with the Hope Foundation who support the street children of Calcutta through education and medical assistance.
During the first days of the trip which was made up mostly of volunteer work, Niall and the group spent time in the schools and crèches located in the slums of the city.  These children are taken from harrowing situations and given a lifeline through education.  Children are taken in from infanthood upwards, and supported right up to when they are seventeen-year-olds, and even after that are assisted with finding work to maintain themselves.  Niall found the poverty these children are forced to survive in before they are rescued to be particularly difficult to stomach, but then on the flip-side, seeing young men and women, supported by the Hope Foundation from early childhood, finishing their education and finding work to live independently was hugely uplifting.

Niall with the Himalayas in the background


After the slums of Calcutta, the group then undertook the challenge of a charity walk in the foothills of the Himalayas.  They travelled to Sikkam province in Northern India, and spent five days walking daily distances of up to eighteen kilometres at altitudes of seven thousand feet. Niall said the scenery was breath-taking, but the distances walked at that altitude were challenging.
Upon returning to Calcutta, Niall spent time on one of the Night Ambulances run by the Hope Foundation, where he experienced more harrowing scenes of abject poverty and deprivation.  He also however saw more of the fantastic work carried out by the Hope.  The Hope Foundation also has a fully-functioning hospital where Niall met with both fulltime Indian Doctors and volunteer doctors from Europe the US and many other parts of the world who were volunteering their time and expertise to this very worth cause.
Niall’s highlight from the trip was seeing the fantastic work carried out by the Hope Foundation.
The lowlight: The mosquitoes.
More information on the great work done by the Hope Foundation can be found on www.hopefoundation.ie

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
Our new website is up and running at www.midletonmensshed.com
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MidletonMensShed2018

East Cork Journal Weekly News 29-Nov-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News.

The dangers of working on your own.

We should all take account of situations where we work alone.  This is more important for retirees; cutting the lawn in sandals, using workshop equipment which may be as old as themselves – never serviced, carrying out electrical repairs, chopping firewood etc. etc., no supervisor to enforce rules / safety measures, so what do we do?  Do we take a risk?  No-one is watching!

You take a chance and the chances are you’ll lose!!

We need to think about what we are going to do.  What could go wrong?  What can be done to prevent injuries?  Is help or advice needed?  If something goes wrong while we are alone and you cannot call anyone, does anyone know where we are?

We should never work alone if possible, and if that’s not possible, we must tell someone where we will be working, what time we expect to return, give them our phone number, and if we change location, let them know.

With our Men’s Shed we do everything with a minimum of two people, no matter what the circumstances.  There is safety in numbers.

Most farmers are ‘work-alone workers’, carrying out many hazardous tasks, and the work has to be done. Working long hours in various parts of the farm, feeding/dosing cattle, using heavy machinery, cutting up fallen trees etc. etc.  A serious injury to the farmer means the farm comes to a virtual standstill.  It’s a hazardous occupation and the farmer must work responsibly.

There is plenty of help available for farmers; Teagasc, HSA newsletters, Farmers Journal, safety circulars for various operations, but action is required to stay safe.

The same assistance is available for retired people.  We can download a lot of useful information from the internet, and if we are not computer literate (many of us) we can just ask a friend or relation who can do this for us. That is why being a member of the local shed, (being a shedder), will give your loved ones peace of mind.
At the shed, we share ideas, our issues, health & wellbeing, we talk about life, politics, family, and how best to do things as we grow older; it’s teamwork.

Look what the Irish Rugby team achieved recently against the number one team in the world through absolute teamwork.

We have worked hard to get this far in our lives, now we deserve a good quality of life, we are not children any more.  We need to remain injury free, relax, be safe.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected]
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MidletonMensShed2018

East Cork Journal Weekly Column 22-Nov-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News

Try a little kindness
As I sat down to write this report, a news article on the radio was reporting that today is World Kindness day.  This got me thinking that while it’s a good thing that we have a World Kindness Day, realistically everyday should be kindness day.  There are plenty of little sayings like ‘It’s nice to be nice’, or ‘It costs nothing to be nice’ and these are all very true, however I believe that in addition to not costing anything, there is a kindness dividend too. Every time we do something nice or kind for someone we know, or even someone we don’t know, we feel better about it too.  So can I suggest to you all that you actively carry out a ‘Random act of kindness’ for someone every day as you go about your business. If it’s only to hold a door open for someone as they pass through or pick up something that someone else has dropped, just do it. You’ll both feel better.

Dam Easy Flood Barriers
A few months back it was well reported locally that our Men’s Shed was giving something back to the community by installing ‘Dam Easy’ flood barriers at houses in the Midleton area that are particularly susceptible to flooding.  The recipients were delighted and hugely relieved to get these quick, easy to install devices to protect their homes from future flooding. The good news is we hope to be in a position to present and install another small batch of these barriers in the coming weeks, to other flood-prone households that meet the qualifying criteria.  As soon as we have definite dates for the arrival of the flood barriers we will make it known here and on our facebook and twitter pages.

Dam Easy Installation

Our Men’s shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected]
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MidletonMensShed2018
www.Midletonmensshed.com

First East Cork Journal Weekly Column

This article was first published in the East Cork Journal on November 15th 2018

We are delighted to be working with the Aghada Centre Theatre Group to make some of the stage props for their upcoming musical called Nanny Poppins. The group have already started rehearsals and plan to raise the curtains in Spring 2019.
We have already made some of the smaller props for the show and are also assisting with the transfer of other props from a theatre group in Thurles – who recently finished a run of this same show – and re-assembling these in Aghada.
Get Winter-Ready
We saw the weather take a turn for the worse over the weekend, and this is a timely reminder that we all have a responsibility not only to look after our own bodily and mental wellbeing, but also that of our neighbours around us in the community. In recent days the government launched its Winter Ready programme, and they have assembled a good amount of very useful information that is available on their website www.winterready.ie

Simple things you can do.
* Have important contact numbers such as doctor, Gardaí, etc. where they are quickly and easily accessible
* Have a flashlight (with charged battery) in an easily accessible location
* Have your Eircode in an easily accessible location
* Know how to turn off the electricity, gas and water in your home

Flu Vaccine
In the Men’s Shed article here last week, the importance for men to get checked for prostate cancer was emphasised. This week we are also promoting getting the flu vaccination, and not just for men.
* Flu causes death and hospitalisation every year
* You need to get the Flu Vaccine every year as the virus changes every year
* The Flu vaccine contains killed viruses, so it cannot give you the flu
* Healthy people can have flu without any obvious symptoms and unknowingly pass it on.
More information is available on www.hse.ie/flu

Our Men’s shed group meet weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.
We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone on 087-7677866.

Give a little – It will help a lot

For years this slogan, "Give a little, it would help a lot" has been on posters and radio and television adverts and at different times of year it wase seen and heard more often than at other times. In my memory, one of the times was Christmas, and even though I mightn't have seen or heard it for several years, I was reminded of it last evening.
Nowadays there's a lot of talk of secularism and the loss of spirituality in society, people may have turned away from the church for a variety of reasons, but they still have a lot of love and giving in their hearts.
This was driven home to me as I went to my local blood clinic to make a donation. It had been over a year since I last gave blood, for no particularly good reason, probably the time they were in the area didn't suit me or maybe I didn't know about it, however I was made aware of their being in the area this time, so no excuses.
The clinic in Midleton was scheduled to begin at 5pm, so I decided I'd get in early and avoid the crowds, however as I walked through the doors, I saw at least 20 people in front of me who all had exactly the same idea.

For a moment my heart sunk, but then I copped on and saw how brilliant this was. On a dark November evening a crowd of volunteers had gathered to donate their blood to help save someone else's life, and I was fortunate and privileged to be able to do do this. I joined the queue, and there was banter and talk of the weather and the queue, all in good spirits, and once the queue started moving, it progressed quickly. All the while people were joining the queue, arriving after busy days at work, and still willing to take the time to give of themselves in the most literal and practical of ways.
At each stage of the process from check-in to blood test, to transfusion to refreshments, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Personnel were genuinely thankful to all of us for making the effort.
As I left the blood centre, walking into the wind and rain, I was energised by the amount of goodness that exists in society. Much of the time, we only hear bad news in the media, however there is plenty of goodness and love and good people all around us everyday. People doing good and not broadcasting it.  I fully understand that not everyone is in a position to give blood for a variety of very valid reasons, and I'm sure they have their own ways of giving, quietly, just as the blood donors I encountered in Midleton last evening.
Our Men's shed is a little bit like this, men getting together in a safe environment to help each other. Through chatting and working on projects we build self confidence, learn new skills and with the synergies created from combining life experience and wisdom, we can help each other to acquire the knowledge to improve mental wellness and in doing so improve all of our lives in small or not so small ways.

International Men’s Day 2018

On Monday November 19th, International Men's Day was celebrated around the world... apparently,  I came across it almost by accident on social media,and I only heard a single mention of it in the mainstream media, from a guest on Brendan O'Connor's television programme on Wednesday November 21st, two days after the event.

The objectives of International Men's Day are as follows:

  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
  • To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
  • To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
  • To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law
  • To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
  • To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

I have to say I've never heard of International Men's Day before this week, but as a member of Midleton Men's Shed, I see a lot of commonality between the aims of our shed and the objectives above, and the absolute importance of celebrating this day.

I will be discussing this with my fellow shedders at our next meeting to ensure we organise an event next year to celebrate this most important day.

New weekly column in the East Cork Journal

We are very thankful to the East Cork Journal for the opportunity to have a 'Midleton Men's Shed Weekly News' published in this popular regional newspaper.  The first article was published on Thursday November 15th.
The column gives us a chance to let the people of Midleton and surrounds know what us 'shedders' are doing, in terms of local projects or progress with our shed or any other nuggets of wisdom we can pass on that might be of benefit locally.