Background Historically certain groups of people have been less likely to access hospice support, for example of every three women accessing bereavement support only one man did. Men’s Sheds have grown in popularity but only one hospice had a shed specifically for people affected by life-limiting illnesses.
To provide alternative support for patients, carers and bereaved relatives
To diversify volunteering roles
To demystify hospice care by engaging the local community.
Methods A cross-organisational steering group of staff, volunteers and users was formed and a fundraising project launched which exceeded £112 000. Plans were agreed and a 12.5 m × 5.5 m structure was built by contractors to accommodate a fully functioning wood workshop and social area designed and fitted out by volunteers. Health and Safety, Facilities, Volunteering and Education teams supported induction processes, development of risk assessments and training.
Cross-organisational project brought together clinical and non-clinical staff and volunteers
New roles have been created for volunteers
New links have been forged with businesses and the local community donating wood and consumables
ResultsDuring the first nine months:
six volunteers have been recruited and trained to lead sessions
one volunteer provides administrative support, one volunteer ambassador sources equipment and consumables
Opens three days a week
53 ’shedders’ have been referred, resulting in 357 attendances.
Patients, carers and bereaved relatives have attended woodworking sessions
A basic computer literacy course has taken place
Feedback is positive and the service valued by people who would not have accessed traditional services
Items produced have raised funds to sustain the project
A local woodcarving group also uses the building.
Conclusions The Man Shed has created opportunities for people to be offered ’shoulder-to-shoulder’ support while engaging in practical activities. This informal approach has helped to break down pre-conceived barriers and misconceptions about hospice care. A number of other hospices are now planning their own sheds.
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