“Men’s Sheds” are similar to garden sheds – a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. “Men's Sheds” originated from the shed-in-a-back-garden scenario, where a man would go and carry out tasks such as restoring furniture or fixing lawn mowers. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while “Men’s Sheds” are the opposite. They’re about making social connections and friendship-building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course, a lot of laughter.
They are non-profit organisations that originated in Australia and have spread throughout the world. They normally operate on a local level within the community, promoting social interaction and aiming to increase quality of life. There are over 500 across the UK, with thousands of active members. “Men’s Sheds” have successfully been established locally in Chard, Ottery St Mary, Exmouth, Exeter and Cullumpton.
"Men's Sheds" are whatever the members (or Shedders, as they are often called) want them to be. Although labelled "Sheds", they often aren’t sheds at all. They can be empty offices, Portakabins, warehouses, garages, and in at least one case, a disused mortuary. Some Sheds are purpose-built workshops, but they rarely start out that way. Many don’t have premises at all in the beginning and instead form a group that meets regularly for the social connection, company and camaraderie until they can find somewhere to kit out with tools. Many Sheds get involved in community projects too – restoring village features, helping maintain parks and green spaces, and building things for schools, libraries and individuals in need.
Activities in Sheds vary greatly, but you can usually find woodworking, metalworking, repairing and restoring, electronics, model-building or even car-building in a Shed. They typically attract older men, but many have younger members and women too. Whatever the activity, the essence of a Shed is not about the building, but about the connections and relationships between its members.
For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing.
Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, fewer older men have networks of friends and rarely share their concerns about their health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose are lost. “Men’s Sheds” can help to change all of that. The slogan for “Men's Sheds” is "Shoulder To Shoulder", shortened from "Men don't talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder".
Sheds are about meeting like-minded people, about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge and renewing a sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that, they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they help men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities, and in many cases, they can save men’s lives!
If you would like to read more about “Men’s Sheds”, you can do so by clicking on the following link which will take you to the UK organisation of “Men’s Sheds”: https://menssheds.org.uk/
Nearly 30% of men in East Devon are aged over 65. That includes a lot of men who would benefit from a Men's Shed environment that they can go to and join in with.
Beer Men's Shed was created as an association on 11 March 2019 to set up a Men's Shed in Beer.
If you are a man who would like to know more about Beer Men's Shed, or you would be prepared to join in in some way, then please click below to send us an email.
If this topic isn’t really for you, please tell as many men in Beer and the surrounding area who you can think of who might be interested in Beer Men's Shed.
If you'd like to give a donation to Beer Men's Shed, our bank details are: Sort Code 30-96-26 Account No. 49573260
Thank you! (on behalf of the Beer Men’s Shed team)