Darrel O’Shaughnessy moved to Arnprior from Kelowna, BC in 2011 after retiring as a business owner specializing in marketing and selling Security Consulting and Engineering Services both in Canada and abroad. His extensive travels and experiences only heightened his interest in sport and recreation and Community unity, and a real desire to “give back” and help make a positive contribution. His passion for the great outdoors, winter and water sports made the move to Arnprior a natural fit.
Darrel is a husband, father, grandfather, and a Senior’s and Youth advocate, evidenced by his ongoing community volunteerism with all generations. Darrel believes that recreation and sport help build community unity for all ages, creating special social and potential business networks that often last a lifetime.
Grateful for an amazing group of friends and neighbours, Darrel makes every effort to ensure that all have an opportunity to participate in sport and community activities in a way that has become customary in the Greater Arnprior Region. He currently serves as Chair of the Greater Arnprior Senior’s Council (GASC) and on the Town of Arnprior’s Corporate Services Advisory Committee, the Senior’s Active Living Centre (SALC) Steering Committee and was instrumental in successfully launching Canada’s 22nd Men’s Shed.
The Men’s Shed – A social health care innovation
Darrel O’Shaughnessey, Chair, Greater Arnprior Senior’s Council, Canada
This paper examines the factors and process that combine to make a successful Men’s Shed. Men’s Sheds are modern, shared versions of home workshops. Founded in Australia in 2007, there are now over 1,000 Men’s Sheds throughout the world. The first in Canada was established in Winnipeg in 2011; now there are 22. Men’s Sheds are positioned here as a social health care innovation.
In retirement, men have time on their hands and a tendency to suffer from isolation, loneliness, and depression. Qualitive reports suggest that older men find benefits to their mental health from participating in social and physical activities in Men’s Sheds, due to social well being and a greater sense of belonging and purpose in their lives. While there is a scarcity of research in the area, additional benefits appear to include building/nurturing family and community connections, teamwork , sharing skills and experience, making friends, mentoring others and problem solving. Mental and physical health benefits consist of combating social isolation, developing confidence, decreasing loneliness and depression, staying connected to community, maintaining an active body and mind.
The Arnprior-McNab/Braeside Msn’s Shed was over a year in development and officially started in February 2019; it is the only Canadian Shed formally affiliated with a local hospital, Arnprior Regional Health (ARH). Research shows that factors important in successful Men’s Shed development include a suitable location, range of activities, local support and skilled coordination. Likewise, the Arnprior-McNab/Braeside Men’s Shed development highlights the importance of leadership, community partnerships (including a major health care provider), fundraising (development) and communication.
The evolution of the Arnprior-McNab/Braeside Men’s Shed incorporated working with community partners to complete a business plan, consulting with other Canadian Men’s Sheds, establishing a budget, finding appropriate and affordable space, procuring the right materials/equipment and developing a marketing plan. With many development challenges (finding space, adapting municipal policies, transportation, cost of utilities, legal fees and insurance), the ARH partnership was pivotal in bringing human and financial resources to the table. Moreover, leadership, stakeholder consultation and securing a great location contributed to our Men’s Shed growth.
Men offer expertise, skills, experience, mentorship, a desire to give back and make a difference – a way to continue contributing to society. Senior men, working shoulder to shoulder, in a great environment, building/fixing things for community, swapping stories over coffee, boasting about family and kids. Our Men’s Shed key successes and accomplishments are helping senior men remain productive, healthy, active and engaged.