The head of a Longford town based men’s group has appealed to local political representatives and businesses to get involved with and support what he says is a vital community outlet.
David Berrigan, Chairperson of Longford Men’s Shed, says that without the support of politicians and businesspeople throughout the region, men with issues such as mental health problems and loneliness will continue to suffer.
Established in November 2011, the Shed aims to provide men of all ages with a place to share their problems and to put their skills to good use. Mr Berrigan believes that without the relative financial support, the group could disband without ever really showing what it can achieve.
“The group is there for anyone who is maybe lonely and struggling with mental health problems or any problem at all,” he says. “At the moment we have about 12 men who meet once a week to discuss what is going on in their lives.”
But for the group to continue, David feels they need to put their skills and minds to good use. “We find ourselves sitting around with nothing to do now really. We have men here who are eager to use their skills in the community but without funding and backing we cannot afford to do so. This is why we need support from politicians in the Longford area.
“We want to bring the group to the next level. We have heard so many good stories from other men’s groups and we want to emulate their success.”
The organisation have been asked to work on two projects in the coming year as David explains: “We were asked to work on two gardens in the Longford town area and were kindly given €500 by Respond Social Housing. One (project) is a residential garden for an elderly lady, which we were more than happy to lend our skills towards and the other is a community garden, which we hope to start on in the near future as long as we have the money.”
Although several local businesses have already donated material such as top soil, flowers and timber for the work, David says more is needed. “We greatly appreciate the goods already donated to us. Both Sparky’s Discount Store and Homebase along with (Fianna Fail Cllr) Michael Connellan have been kind to us and without them we wouldn’t be here, but we need to get more sponsors on board as without them we are a sinking ship. We are working with what we have but we need more.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Shed or wish to contact David in relation to sponsorship, you can do so via their Facebook page by searching Longford Men’s Shed. Membership is free but all donations are much appreciated as David illustrates. “If you wish to give 50 cent or one euro then that’s fine, if you can’t afford it then that is fine too. The Shed is not a money making organisation, it is here to provide men of all ages in the region to come to socialise and chat.”