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Toome Men's Shed and Gribbin's Pharmacy

A new lease of life...

The Toome area has a high level of unemployment resulting in health-related inequalities where many men suffer from stress, anxiety, loneliness and a lack of basic skills. Toome Men’s Shed is a safe place for men who share the same problems to come together for support and friendship and also offers woodworking furniture repair within the community.

The Men’s Shed received BCPP Level 1 funding in 2018 in partnership with Pharmacist Anita Gribbin who delivered a six week course to the men on topics such as stress management, addiction issues, nutrition, prescription medicine queries and the use of supplements. 

The success of this programme meant the group felt confident to apply for a Level 2 grant of £10,000. Working with Anita again, they identified a group of 15 men who were keen to engage. Some suffered from isolation, lack of confidence, family break up or physical health issues. Addressing topics that men felt were pertinent to the group, this project aimed to build a network of support around these men and confirm their place in the community.

One participant, on retirement, felt he had lost his way and had nothing practical to offer the Men’s Shed however the six week taster sessions appealed to him and gave him a reason to attend. He found the sessions very informative and a great way to meet other similar men and was excited to attend the sessions in the Level 2 project. 

The Level 2 BCPP programme ran for a year and involved a wider range of healthcare professionals and community/voluntary sector organisations. It incorporated a gym taster session, first aid training, heart health, an introduction to selfcare and a mental health awareness workshop. The group explored employability, cookery and budgeting as topics and forged links with local schools and other community organisations such as Toome House, SOLAS and the Rainey Centre in Magherafelt.

The Men’s Shed has grown massively in the last 18 months and hopes to encourage others in the community who are suffering from health issues to have the confidence to join this fantastic group and avail of the support and facilities on offer. The group’s engagement with other community organisations will bring more people together and encourage them to look after their health in a number of ways. 


It was amazing what the men got out of the initial programme in such a short space of time some saying they had a new lease of life. As a direct result, these men are now approaching pharmacists with their health queries and feel empowered to take responsibility for their own health.
Anita Gribbin, Pharmacist