A police volunteer who was widowed in 2010 has heaped praise on Weston Hospicecare’s Men in Sheds programme.
David May attends Weston Hospicecare’s Men in Sheds initiative to keep his weeks busy and to make new friends with men in a similar situation to himself. He was widowed in 2010 after his wife battled chronic multiple sclerosis.
Men in Sheds is organised by Weston Hospicecare’s bereavement team to help support men who are statistically are less likely to talk about their feelings in comparison to women.
David said: “I was widowed back in 2010, my wife had chronic MS and while she never came into the hospice, nurses came out to us.
“After that, I came to the hospice as part of the second buddies group and we got to the size of about twenty and there is still a nucleus of around 10 of us who still meet at the Grand Atlantic once every couple of weeks for a coffee.
“At the time it was a great help and now things have stabilised, I am reasonably well settled. I volunteer at Weston and Worle police station and what I do there is I look at the activity of the pubs and clubs. It is a case of getting a snapshot of what has been going on in the town during a weekend and passing that on to the appropriate teams.”
Remarkably, one of the reasons David decided to start attending Weston Hospicecare’s Men in Sheds was to help and support others who have been recently widowed while benefitting from the supportive environment himself.
He said: “I find even now a need to fill time and have things to do. Us men don’t tend to talk about things and I saw Men in Sheds advertised and I just thought it’ll be somewhere to go, it’ll be male only company and as I have been widowed for a while I might be a support to those who may be starting to go through the bereavement process.
“It is also really good for me anyway because it is a chance to do something completely different and enjoy male company.
“It is another space to fill in the wee. It is a two-edged sword, I might be able to provide help and support to someone but likewise, I get an awful lot out of Men in Sheds.”
The meet happens twice a week in a designated shed in the garden of Jackson-Barstow House and attendees are able to get involved with team-based DIY projects or just be there to have a casual conversation.
David continued: “Everyone is easy going and you do what you can, you’re encouraged, there’s no pressure and it is as much chat as it is DIY.
“I try and come twice a week and I do find it helpful because in our situation it is so important to have things to do and focus on and to have a purpose and reason for each day.
“Even in the early days when people don’t necessarily want to talk, it’s helpful to get up and know what we are going to be doing for the day. If people are a bit down, you can talk to people who understand. One of the most important aspects with the buddy groups, everybody understood as we are all in the same position so you are talking to like-minded people.
“I do honestly think, the fact people can relax and have a laugh and a joke is beneficial in itself. The fact we just chat among ourselves and not having a set subject is really beneficial.
“It is great, when buddies started it was innovative and Men in Sheds is working in a similar fashion.”
As well as the Men in Sheds programme, the hospice has launched a brand new men-only fundraising walk in aid of the hospice. It will follow a 10 mile route around Weston and Sand Bay area starting and finishing at the Grand Pier on the seafront. The event will take place on 9 March 2019 in what will be the hospice’s 30th year of caring for those with life-limiting conditions in the community. Click here to visit our designated Men’s March event page.