The Irish Men’s Sheds Association has won the 2018 European Citizen’s Prize, following the organisation’s nomination by Irish MEPs.

Fine Gael MEPs Sean Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Deirdre Clune have today congratulated the group following the win.

This award recognises projects or individuals that promote cross-border cooperation and EU values.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament Sean Kelly described the accolade as a “well-deserved award in recognition of the positive, constructive impact the Men’s Sheds movement has had on its members and in local communities”.

The European Citizen’s Prize celebrates projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation or promote mutual understanding and EU values, which the sheds movement perfectly reflects, according to the four MEPs who jointly nominated the Irish association:

According to a statement released by the MEPs: “The Irish Men’s Sheds Association creates a space where men can discuss health issues and emotions while engaging in purposeful activities.

Also Read: From sheds to Brussels: Irish association nominated for EU award

“The sheds are in urban and rural areas and promote the health and well-being of members by combatting issues such as loneliness and isolation while creating a culture where men can openly discuss their thoughts and feelings without stigma.

“It has shown how integration is one of its key values by being a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men – regardless of age, background or ability – come together and undertake a variety of mutually agreed activities,” the MEPs said.

These activities include carpentry, bike and vehicle repairs, upholstery, gardening, bee keeping, painting, singing, developing IT skills, and playing cards.

The association is part of a larger network of Men’s Sheds associations in England, Scotland, Wales, Finland, and Greece – thereby inducing European cohesion and it provides information, resources and support for others to set up their own sheds.

Irish winners

The four MEPs also congratulated Inner City Helping Homeless from Ireland which was also announced as winner of the European Citizen’s Prize today.

Representatives of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association will join other winners at the official prize-giving ceremony at the European Parliament, Brussels on October 9.