Mannok recently collaborated with a local Men’s Shed group, in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, on an environmental, woodwork project to give its members the opportunity to work on a new project that will positively impact the environment and benefit their wellbeing. Through creating almost 30 animal habitats, which will be installed across Mannok’s substantial landholdings, the community group is helping Mannok attract various birds, mammals, and insects to the local area and enhance biodiversity.
The project, which Mannok funded along with a donation to the Oak Healthy Living Centre’s Men’s Shed in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, marks another step in the company’s action to enhance its land assets and contribute to local communities.
This was the first time the members of the Men Shed had created bug hotels, and bat, bird, and owl boxes in such a large scale. The woodwork project expanded their skills and provided a great sense of enthusiasm and achievement in the workshop, benefiting the men who are often attending to help their health and wellbeing and to keep their spirits up.
Commenting on how enjoyable this project was for all the men involved, the Men’s Shed Lisnaskea Project Coordinator, Paul Dolan, said,
“Our Men’s Shed group in Lisnaskea was set up to address the needs of the community, mainly from a health and wellbeing perspective, and we have thirty registered men who all have a range of chronic health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, cancer with some also having physical disabilities. Through woodwork projects, like this one with Mannok, we aim to provide a purposeful outlet with opportunities for socialisation.
This environmental project has been very valuable for the group of men. The project not only provided a good sense of purpose for the men as they have made habitats which will benefit nature, but it also provided a new talking point for them, and socialisation is so important for their health and wellbeing.”
Prior to the project commencing, Paul along with the Men’s Shed tutor, Sean McGeough, visited Mannok to talk through the brief and share their designs and ideas with the company’s Environmental Team. After the designs were agreed, the tutor demonstrated how to make each item before the men started working together to craft each product.
Paddy Reihill, one of members of the community group said he and his colleagues really enjoyed the project, as he said,
“Before this project, it was mostly weaving and furniture that we were making but this is different, and it is for the environment which is a good thing to be involved in.”
Within a few weeks, the men had completed all 30 animal habitats, each very bespoke and carefully crafted. To ensure the habitats are placed in the best areas to benefit birds, mammals and insects, Mannok’s Environmental Team, along with a local expert are now carefully selecting the placement areas.
Explaining why Mannok collaborated with Lisnaskea Men’s Shed, the company’s Environmental Manager, Stephen Linden, commented,
“We are committed to supporting, investing in, and giving back to our local communities through initiatives such as this collaboration with a Lisnaskea Men’s Shed. We are very pleased that the members of the Men’s Shed group have enjoyed the project and received a good sense of achievement from it. The project has also been very rewarding for our Environmental Team, who have enjoyed visiting the workshop and witnessing the happiness and teamwork from all the men involved.
Mannok has almost 2,000 acres of landholdings in 47 separate locations both north and south of the Irish border. The company recognises it has a responsibility to enhance and restore this land to benefit the environment, which is what we aim to do through the addition of these animal habitats.
After the habitats are installed, we will be analysing their contribution to biodiversity and continuing our work to improve the variety of wildlife.”
The addition of animal habitats to benefit biodiversity is one of the actions in the company’s comprehensive, forward thinking biodiversity report, its Natural Assets Action Plans (NAAP), which was completed by Ulster Wildlife in partnership with the Mannok Environmental Team. The report examines every area of Mannok’s landholdings and provides a roadmap for the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of every area to help meet the company’s ambitious sustainability targets.