David Lanigan is a selfless individual who’s dedicated his life’s work to caring for vulnerable members of society who live alone.
He does this through Carlow Independent Living – a job that sees him carry out regular house visits to anyone who might need them; be it a granny who needs help with the heavy lifting of grocery shopping, or an older gentleman with arthritis who needs a hand getting dressed in the mornings.
Regardless of what needs to be done, David is there to help.
I might be the only other person these men see for the entire week
When David joined Tullow Men’s Shed almost two years ago, it was purely as a means of keeping his clients entertained. “I hoped it could be an outlet for the men I care for,” he explains.
“In many cases, I might be the only other person these men see for the entire week. This way, instead of just having tea with me within an hour down in their house, I could bring them to the shed for one or two mornings a week. They were delighted to mix with other men who had the same backgrounds and interests as them, like farming, engineering or whatever they might have been into.”
Sadly, not long after David had introduced his most isolated clients to the shed, their newly found social outlet was taken away. The outbreak of COVID-19 meant Tullow Men’s Shed was forced to shut its doors and the men in David’s care were back to seeing nobody but him.
Frank Morris, a great man in Tullow Men’s Shed, used to phone every one of the shed members on a daily basis
David has tough memories of those initial stages of the pandemic, such as visiting his clients in a full suit of PPE that intimidated many of those in his care.
However, the shed came forward as a crucial support in those tough times.
“Frank Morris, a great man in Tullow Men’s Shed, used to phone every one of the shed members on a daily basis,” David reflects.
“It was just to check in and see how they were doing – if they were okay or whether they needed anything.
“I would have done that with my own clients anyway but Frank and I just felt people needed to know that we as a group were still there and they weren’t left behind.”
It was due to all this support from the shed during those dark days, David explains, that he wanted to give something back. Last November, David was swept up by the Movember craze and grew his own moustache to raise funds for Tullow Men’s Shed.
The people of Tullow were already widely in awe of the shed’s projects – such as their hand-crafted bird boxes and school benches throughout the town – and so were eager to support the cause. It wasn’t long before donations were flying in on David’s Go Fund Me page and last month he handed over a cheque to the value of €1,300 to his shed.
You’ll only meet good people and great friends
While David grew a moustache because of his own shed, he points out that many shedders have also grown strong friendships and overall better mental health after becoming a member.
“Don’t hesitate to join a shed yourself,” he urges. “You’ll only meet good people and great friends. You’ll leave with a story or two to tell and a smile on your face. Anyone and everyone would be very welcome in the shed, it’s the most welcoming place I’ve ever been.”