Phoenix Womens SHED

The SHED was opened in June 2022 under the banner of the Phoenix Women’s Centre. We then began trading as Phoenix Women’s Centre & SHED. We have now separated the Support Centre from the SHED to allow each area of work to receive dedicated time and attention; a dedicated team of volunteers will be attached to each area of work. The Phoenix SHED is now a company limited by guarantee in its own right. We currently have about 65 members. A membership fee is payable, notably, €15 for 6 months or €25 for the year. The SHED is about social engagement, psychological and physical health, participation in activities, enjoyment and peer support. It is a place where women can feel relaxed, safe and welcome. It is a place where women can learn new skills, develop new interests, take part in activities, such as drumming, yoga, chakra dancing, line dancing, tai chi, qi gong, singing, physical exercises. Women can also attend talks on women’s health issues, such as nutrition, menopause, breast health, the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. There also talks on how to cope with loss and grief and how to write a Will. There are creative workshops such as pebble painting, making jewellery, designing and making greeting cards. Other events include walking, art and gardening. Digital photography and IT skills are also organised. Day trips are organised a couple of times a year. Importantly, women can just sit, drink tea, eat the cake and chocolates, have a heart to heart chat, meet someone new, engage in banter and have a laugh. Combating social isolation is a key objective. The committee regularly seek feedback from our SHED members and we endeavour to deliver on the ideas and suggestions put forward. One SHED member noted that it was important for women ‘to tell their story’; we currently have a project called ‘My Story’ which encourages women to write their story. Depending on the response we receive we may publish the stories. Phoenix Women’s SHED Experience One message we give to all our SHED members, is that we would encourage them, never to feel they are not strong enough, fit enough, creative enough, young enough, slim enough, talented enough, intelligent enough, experienced enough… to do any of the activities that we organise. All activities can be done at one’s own pace and if women just want to sit it out and relax, that is no problem. We want all women to have positive experiences in the Phoenix Women’s SHED, to leave feeling destressed, confident, happy, empowered to take on challenges and overall develop a quality lifestyle. Conversely, if a woman has skills in a particular field, they could be the one leading a workshop. We have had someone from the Annascaul Ladies Shed demonstrating Floral Table Decorations. Another member delivered a First Aid session. We encourage women to share their skills or indeed tell their story. Outcomes From the SHED – What Do Women Gain by Being Part of The New Women’s Shed Movement? Women will meet new people, have an opportunity to connect and engage and participate in a range of activities as referred to above. Women can often feel isolated, lonely and disconnected from the community especially as their families grow up and leave home. Women at the SHED chat, laugh, enjoy the company, share their interests and problems. Tea, coffee and biscuits are in plentiful supply. We aim to foster opportunities that will enhance greater self confidence, more understanding of the benefits of physical exercise and healthy diet, knowledge and skills that will enable women to feel empowered to make decisions that affect them. We also aim to provide regular workshops that will enable women to improve their selfcare through relaxation and destressing techniques. We encourage an understanding of the importance of connecting with nature and creativity to improve mood and energy and enhance feelings of wellbeing. We remind ourselves about the importance of being light hearted, engaging with others and enjoying life. Overall, in regard to ‘Quality of Life’, we know the SHED does make a significant difference to a range of dimensions such as physical health and fitness, psychological health and well being and, through enjoyment, helping to create a positive outlook on life.

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