29: Survival of the Kindest: Patrick Abrahams – Compassion is More Than Just Empathy

Transcript available here on our website

On this week’s episode Julian talks to Patrick Abrahams who started the Men’s Shed in Frome. Patrick’s aim in moving to the countryside was always to start a Shed, to provide a place where men could gather, and through stories, over coffees and biscuits, woodwork and plans, find connection, something which many men of post-retirement age lose after they have left work.

Patrick’s stories make us feel like we are part of the shed too, like we can be in on the jokes that come from treating everyone with respect and allowing them to come as they are. His tales are imbued with the camaraderie that seems to be common amongst shedders, and the pathos and depth that naturally arise in supportive communities.

From building coffins for the member’s (at their request), to opening up the conversation about prostate screenings and never running out of tea, the Men’s Shed (and there is now a Woman’s Shed and a Young Person’s Shed in Frome too) embodies the ethos of collective responsibility that community can bring; a shared compassion for one and other in its most uncomplicated form. As Patrick says, compassion is more than empathy, ‘its action oriented as well’ and that can just mean going to a shed, and having a conversation, and that in itself can be transformational.

Patrick was nominated by Peter Macfadyen who can be heard talking on the podcast here

Things mentioned on the episode:

Shed Happens Podcast

Men’s Shed Frome

Men’s Shed Association

Jenny Hartnoll twitter

Frome Medical Centre

Critchell School


Source FM

Frome FM


Flatpack Democracy 2021

Compassionate Communities

Julian Abel can be found on Twitter

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Email us compassion.pod@gmail.com

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