To promote and support Men’s Sheds in the UK
To That End
- Promote Men’s Sheds through this website and the media
- Respond to enquiries, signpost and advise
- Collect and redistribute helpful information (within the Data Protection Act)
- Bring interested people together to help build a Shed community.
Why are Sheds needed?
This movement began in Australia when men realised the value of coming together around practical tasks on a regular basis, particularly if they had a designated place or workshop where tools and work in progress could be stored. This appeals to men both living alone or with partners and at all ages although the vast majority of ‘shedders’ are at or beyond retirement date. This transitional period not only brings a loss of a work role but also of identity, status, workmates, income and even a sense of purpose. Men can find themselves disengaged from their community if the pub or sports is not their thing. The generality of community activities on offer do not appeal to men and as they expect to meet their own needs then some level of social isolation can also occur.
Men who have their own shed have often developed their skills and interests there but in a larger facility, with better or more equipment, with skills you can develop with others and jobs you can do for the community a Men’s Shed offers something new. Choosing what you want to do, whether that is working on your own project or drinking tea with others but with minimal demands can be exactly what many men need.
There are now more than 950 Sheds in Australia, 200 in Ireland and others in New Zealand, Canada and Denmark with interest being expressed from many other countries. Research worldwide points in particular to the health and well-being benefits of men coming together.
Sheds in the UK
The Shed concept was first realised in England by Age Concern Cheshire at Hartford in 2009, about the same time as the first Shed in Ireland. Four more staffed Sheds followed before the first Community Men’s Shed was formed in London in 2011. These user-led Sheds now form the vast majority of the (almost) 300 Sheds open in the UK, with nearly 100 more in planning.
Sheds vary from full-time projects in substantial premises to groups meeting in village halls and community centres for only a few hours a week. Some Sheds are in villages, most are in small towns but considering their populations there are relatively few in large cities. Most Sheds have been started by their users with local support, donations of tools and premises being given, borrowed and used often in exchange for repair work. About 18% of Sheds in England have been started by Age UK affiliates.
Shed Development Workers are now being employed to support this growth by organisations including Men’s Sheds Cymru, the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association, the Northern Men’s Sheds Network (N.I.), the Royal Voluntary Service, Age Scotland, and local authorities such as Kent County Council and West Sussex Public Health Department.
For an introductory 4 minute BBC video called ‘Getting inside an man’s shed’ available on the BBC Online News Magazine “Stop/Start” click here.
For a short film entitled ‘Shed Men’ click here.
The UK Men’s Sheds Association
The Association was formed on the 15th March 2013 by 17 of the 26 open Sheds or Shed planning groups. A Steering Group was elected consisting mainly of Shed leaders. We promote the movement by every means including arranging public events, and support its growth by linking up interested people to form new groups or signposting them to open Sheds, and by sharing experience, arranging sponsorship, forming partnerships and helping to build the community of Sheds regionally, nationally and internationally.
In June 2015 the Association successfully registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation reg. no. 1162409.
For our second Annual Report click here
For the minutes of our second AGM click here
For our three year business plan click here
For our 2014-15 accounts click here
To join the Association either as an existing or prospective Shed or as an individual supporter click here.
UKMSA is proud to acknowledge Triton Precision Power Tools as our official Tool Supplier.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the BIG Lottery’s Awards for All fund for our England-wide ‘Meet the Shedders’ events programme. Further support for this programme was also provided by the Royal Voluntary Service and Triton Precision Tools.
A recent award from the Tudor Trust has enabled us to take on a member of staff and we have also had significant support from the Allen Lane Foundation.