by Stuart Torrance, Men’s Health Project Officer

There’s no doubt the events of 2020 and in particular COVID-19 have shone a spotlight on our health.

We have all had to adjust to a new normal.

The way we work, socialise, sleep, exercise and eat have all been significantly impacted.

And for many of us, maintaining wellbeing during this lifestyle shift has had its challenges.

Wellbeing is a word that gets used a lot but what exactly does it mean to be a ‘well-being’?

For me it’s being OK within and about myself.

Without wanting to over-analyse it, in a nutshell that means:

  • a reasonably healthy body
  • no overwhelming issues (nothing I can’t handle anyway)
  • most importantly, being around friends, family and those I know

Sheds are a great place to tick all those boxes.

Encouraging each other to keep on top of our health. You know the sort of banter: you can’t talk!’ or ‘when was the last time you saw your toes?’

There’s a sounding board for every topic and someone to talk to if issues get out of hand.

Even the pandemic gets put in its place in the Shed. But most importantly it’s about the mates you have there. Sharing stories, projects and laughter.

Some of us are back in lock down and of course we might all be back there yet again before we see the back of this COVID-19.

The AMSA team has been really encouraged to hear what Sheds have been up too during the COVID crisis. Our ‘welfare calls’ to you are revealing some great initiatives and outstanding lengths to which some Shedders will go to look out for their mates.

Members have been calling members. Committees doing the ring around. Socially distanced visits to drop off a few needs. Zoom, Skype, Messenger, Facebook, email and even a letter or two. Every opportunity to stay connected.

So it raises the question, what did we do before COVID-19?

The Fire, Ambulance and Police have welfare officers. The Army, Navy and Air Force have them too and so do some Sheds.

Does your Shed have one?

Who rang around to check in with those who haven’t been seen for a while?

Do you give a call out to those with a birthday? How did we stay in touch with members no longer able to attend? What about those in hospital or sick at home? Is there a nominated person to call and wish them well?

If you do have a welfare officer, does this mean the job is covered by that one person?

I would like to hear from existing Shed Welfare Officers about their role and what happened during COVID. Alternatively I would like to hear Shedders ideas for this role and how we can support them in what they do.

Personally, I believe the job is better done by everyone but coordinated by one or a few. But what do you think?

Our S.A. Gathering in 2019 had a very important and well-attended session on welfare and wellbeing roles in Sheds.

Especially given the impact of COVID-19, AMSA would like to focus on those roles and help Sheds that would like assistance by putting together an outline for what their Shed’s Welfare and/or Wellbeing officer role might look like.

So please offer your input.

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