Forres men are laughing off depression and finding space to talk about things that big boys aren’t ‘supposed’ to talk about.
That’s the message from the Forres Men’s Shed, which has taken roots in the biggest man-cave of them all, Moray Waste Busters.
And it’s here that the mostly retired members exchange banter, have a laugh and share jokes over a cup of tea.
But as chairman Tony Hartley explains, it goes a lot deeper than a social meetup.
Men helping men
He said the organisation helps men talk about things that they can’t talk about at work, in the pub or even to their wives.
“It’s all about men helping men. Men just don’t talk to people. If you go to the pub, there are five things they talk about – golf, football, cars, work, women – everything else doesn’t exist,” said Tony.
“It’s the camaraderie, it’s the banter, it’s that joviality that you get between workmates. When you retire, that goes, and most men only have their wives to speak to, and a lot of men don’t even have that.”
He goes as far as to say the shed gives men a reason to live when they have been at a serious low point. The door is open to anyone aged 18 to the grave.
Member John Gillies said: “It’s somewhere to come where you can talk to men. and it’s nice to come and be part of a bigger thing.”
‘Head Tea Boy’ Bill Valentine is the oldest member at 90 and he said that he too felt the camaraderie was what made the shed so appealing.
He said: “The boys are good to me, they pick me up from home and bring me in here. My eyesight isn’t so good so I can’t see to put screws in, but I help with other things. I’m the ‘head tea boy’ so the first thing I do in the morning is to make the tea.”
Laughing is the best medicine
Tony added: “All men have suffered problems of some sort, and a lot of them are down to depression.
“Here, there’s no such thing as depression. How can you be depressed when you’re laughing.”
Douglas Ross MP said: “I know that there are active Men’s Shed groups across Moray and it was highlighted to me at my meeting with the Elgin group, which has a strong membership, how valuable they are in bringing like-minded people together in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness.”