AN innovative project to help bereaved men tackle their loss is being launched in Runcorn.

Halton Haven is launching a new men’s shed project, the first of its kind as part of a UK hospice.

It gives men a chance to share and learn new skills, have a laugh and relax.

They can do a whole range of activities from joinery and woodwork to music, arts and crafts.

The Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs will officially open the men’s shed on July 24.

The project was developed following research into the experience of bereaved men by clinical nurse Pauline Hatchard.

Shaun Pollard, chief executive officer of Halton Haven, said: “Pauline’s work showed that bereaved men are very often not interested in the traditional family support offering of formal counselling or listening.

“The data from our ramily support team backed this up.

“Staff members at the hospice then researched the idea, originally from Australia, of creating a men’s shed where men could feel at home, work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace.

“The relationships which men can build, in a way that is natural for them, can have huge health benefits and meet the unanswered needs which bereavement brings."

The men's shed at Halton Haven has been in use during the past 10 weeks.

Already 15 men have shared the new service.

The project is for men of any age who are bereaved or who have a loved one with a life limiting illness which is in its final stages.

It was funded from the latest round of capital grants for hospices from the Department of Health.

Allan Kellehear, professor of community health at the School of Health and Education in Middlesex University will be leading the academic evaluation of the project as it develops.

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