Mike Jenn shows the South Korean visitors around the Camden Town Shed
Published: 7 June, 2012
by TOM FOOT
A DELEGATION from South Korea has travelled thousands of miles to see a “shed” used by retired men.
The Suwon Lifelong Learning Centre came to the Camden Town Shed in Maiden Lane Community Centre.
It was set up by Mike Jenn and Dr Robert MacGibbon as a place where men can come down and do odd jobs, using hired tools for free, chatting and drinking cups of tea.
The idea is to keep retired minds active and healthy.
Researcher Sunyoung Jung said: “Korean retired men need to get out of the house and do something. Those who are not that much sociable and need some kind of achievement.”
She added: “The shed is a brilliant idea for those who are not that sociable and need some kind of achievement through carpentering. As the men’s shed movement in Austraila is a big success, I hope and I’m sure your movement in the UK will be as well.
“Also, thankyou for your willingness and kindness to share your experience with us. Your story, I believe, will motivate many current and upcoming retired seniors in Korea.”
Loneliness and feelings of worthlessness can follow retirement from the workplace.
Men are sometimes less likely to talk about their concerns and may not socialise outside of pubs, which can lead to bad health. And the Shed is now open to women – on Wednesdays.
The men’s shed movement – inspired by a similar project in Australia – was set up last year and has now attracted the attention of the South Korean authorities who are looking for new “adult learning” projects.
Mr Jenn, the Shed’s chairman, has recorded a video encouraging the men of Suwon to get together and create their own learning and sharing environment.
He said: “Members learn informally from each other whilst tackling problems presented by their work. The Shed opened in May last year and is the first community shed in England.
“Attendance is free although donations are encouraged.”
• For more information contact Mr Jenn on 07757 024749 or visit www.camdentownshed.org