Burns Lake residents plan to open a Men’s Shed to help locals with mental health


Burns Lake is soon set to get its own Men’s Shed, thanks to the efforts of residents Darryl Hutcheon, Mark McLoughlin and Linda Uchacz.

The idea of a Men’s Shed in the community is receiving positive response after seeing the success of several other societies in the Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.

The Fraser Lake and Area Men’s Shed Society (FLAMSS), which started in 2017, came to Burns Lake on April 8, to provide an orientation about the society and what it does.

The Men’s Shed community is a modern version of the traditional basement or garage workshop. Its idea is to increase well-being by fostering social connections, self-esteem, and healthy living. The shed is not a building but a network of relationships within the community.

All age groups from any background are welcome to join this community. It also appreciates women’s participation. The main purpose of Men’s Shed was to create a safe place for men to bond with one another. .

“It’s in the starting stages and there’s support from the community. So, we’ll see how it goes,” Hutcheon said.

Burns Lake Mayor Henry Wiebe said, “I’ve been thinking about starting a Men’s Shed or helping to start one here in Burns Lake for quite a few years, and I kind of kept an eye for location.”

Mayor Wiebe was pleased with the presentation and surprised to see so much interest within the community.

“We had enough interest, and I think we will have a Men’s Shed here in Burns Lake. I’m not sure what the timeline would be.”

Jan Fennema, FLAMSS president, firmly believes that every community, no matter how big or small, needs a Men’s Shed to help with mental healthcare.

John Stafford, FLAMSS secretary, thinks any community with senior men looking for community engagement should open a Men’s Shed. He added, “We are supported by Northern Health, Mental Health People, and Crisis Centre BC. We also help a lot of seniors within the community.”

Stafford said that to join the Men’s Shed Association of British Columbia (MSABC), one must attend meetings, look on Facebook, and talk to people within the community. He said that different communities could set their own membership fees, and the FLAMSS charges $20 a year.

He further emphasized that each Men’s Shed is different and develops its own strengths in what it wants to do. “We don’t tell them that you have to have a woodshop or this or that. It’s basically a group of people getting together for a common cause and trying to help people struggling mentally.”

New communities can also contact MSABC to apply for Men’s Shed Start-up grants, which are administered by Help Age Canada.

If anyone wants more information on how to volunteer, participate, and be part of the Burns Lake Men’s Shed, they can email at [email protected].


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