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Colin Neighbourhood Partnership Men’s Shed Finds Success with Mindfulness Programme

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership Men’s Shed has reported a significant boost in mental health, communication, and overall well-being after participating in The SECRET Programme, a unique personal development and mindfulness initiative designed by Veronica Ellis from Mindfulness Connected Learning.

The SECRET Programme is an in-depth programme built on the Public Health Agency’s 5 steps to well-being:

·       Connect: Strengthen your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. Social connection is vital for mental well-being.

·       Be Active: Engage in regular physical activity, even if it's just a brisk walk.

·       Take Notice: Practice mindfulness by paying attention to the present moment.

·       Keep Learning: Challenge yourself by acquiring new skills or knowledge.

·       Give: Helping others benefits both the giver and receiver.

Building on two previous mindfulness courses with Veronica Ellis, Colin Men’s Shed embarked on The SECRET Programme in October 2023.

Participants reported a wide range of positive outcomes, including:

  • Improved mental health

  • Reduced stress levels

  • Enhanced communication skills

  • Greater self-understanding and understanding of others

  • Increased meaning and joy in life

  • A sense of camaraderie and shared experience


Each session explored The SECRET Programme’s components through mindfulness practice, activities, reflections, and group discussions. The programme also offered monthly listening spaces and a rejuvenating retreat in the Mourne Mountains.

"The programme has been fantastic," shared a Colin Men's Shed member. "It's helped me manage stress better and connect more deeply with the other men here." 

Veronica Ellis, facilitator of the programme added “"I'm thrilled to see the positive impact The SECRET Programme has had on the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership Men's Shed. This programme is designed to be accessible and engaging, allowing participants to develop practical mindfulness skills that enhance their well-being and connection with others. The men's dedication and enthusiasm throughout the course were truly inspiring."

The SECRET Programme provides a valuable framework for personal growth and well-being. Colin Men’s Shed’s positive experience demonstrates the programme’s effectiveness in a group setting.

For further information about Colin Men’s Shed please contact Umberto Scappaticci, Community Development Officer, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership tel: 028 9062 3813 or email

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