UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA)
Second Annual Report (to June 2015)
Over the last year we have continued to support the growth of the UK Men’s Sheds movement which now has more than two new Sheds per week opening (last six months). We have increased our capacity by engaging our first member of staff and raising funds for a second person and we have renewed our website. A major enhancement of capacity has also occurred following an agreement with the Royal Voluntary Service to deploy a Men’s Sheds team in partnership with us. We have funded and begun our programme of 10 regional public events.
For those new to us we provide here a brief Organisation Summary (in italics)
Purpose: UKMSA exists to promote Men’s Sheds and to support their development. Vision: That the particular needs of men are understood and provided for throughout the UK in ways that improve their health and wellbeing. Aim: To enable any man who needs it to be able to join a Men’s Shed. Legal status: UKMSA is an Unincorporated Association, but currently registering as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. History: The UKMSA was set up in March 2013 by 17 (of 26) UK organisations or groups who were either operating or planning to operate a Men’s Shed. The organisation was publicly launched in November 2013 at an event attended by 130 people. Our first AGM was held on June 23rd 2014. Management: The Management Committee of eight people (both elected and co-opted) have met monthly throughout the year, often by teleconference. Most members are Shed leaders. The chair acts as executive director between meetings and works closely with our p/t administrator. Location The Association’s address is c/o Camden Town Shed, Maiden Lane Community Centre, 156 St Paul’s Crescent, London NW1 9XZ. Our 3 year Objectives 2015-18:
- To create a sustainable support service, including through having improved online guidance, encouraging voluntary regional networks and developing partnerships with other charities.
- To add a further 5500 men to those attending a shed each week in England by supporting the development of 280 new Men’s Sheds (We expect Welsh and Scottish Sheds will be supported by new services underway in those nations)
- To have supported Shed’s economies through lowering costs/increasing income, as well as through research and fundraising training.
Report of the Year June 23rd 2014 to June 17th 2015 (AGM-AGM)
Over the year we have maintained and developed our six core services of
- promoting the movement,
- linking people and/or organisations to each other,
- supporting Shed development by sharing experience,
- seeking sponsorships/discounts,
- representing the movement to authorities and
- building community. (Some of our activities have achieved more than one of these purposes). In addition at the last AGM we set specific tasks of hiring freelance staff, holding regional ‘Meet the Shedders’ events, improving the website and strengthening our governance and committee.
- Promotion: The main thrust has been to get the regional Meet the Shedders programme funded and functioning. Three of these events have taken place and a further nine are being planned. Whatever the attendance these events inform a lot of people through publicity and they also build the Shed community which may lead to local networks forming. Funding came from Awards for All (£9414), Triton Precision Tools (up to £6000) and the Royal Voluntary Service (£5000). An unfunded similar event was held in Havant in October which was addressed by the CEO’s of the Australian and Irish Sheds Associations who we had invited over. This resulted in 70 people attending, two Sheds starting (Eastbourne, Andover) and publicity through the BBC’s World Service and the Guardian.
Other work included four Sheds manning stands at two Woodworking and Power Tool Shows in Harrogate and Newark (funded by Triton Precision Tools), getting articles in magazines (Newsweek, British Woodworking, Choice, Mature Times) and printing postcard-sized flyers to engage people at events. Following a major report on Loneliness by independent AGE we were interviewed for radio (BBC Radio Northampton) and TV (London Live)
In May a revised website was posted updating our image and renewing the content which is regularly revised. Support for this work was received from Peabody.
On the morning of the AGM the chair did fourteen BBC Regional radio interviews ( Tees, Sussex and Surrey, Sheffield, Shropshire, Hereford, Cambridge, Scotland, Humberside, Stoke, Berks, Oxford, Devon, Leeds and Northampton) plus Phil Johns did one for Bristol and an RVS person did Leicestershire. RVS were launching their recent research and partnership with ourselves.
2&3 Linking people/organisations and supporting Shed development.
The number of Sheds we know to be open has risen to 184 from 87 (at last AGM) and in the last six months growth has been at more than two per week. Of these 124 are in England, 20 in Northern Ireland, 31 in Scotland and 8 in Wales. We are aware of a further a further 78 Sheds are being planned.
Our ability to respond to enquiries was enhanced by engaging our first paid administrator (freelance) in October. Patrick Abrahams, also the founder/chair of the Frome Men’s Shed, is funded for 12 hrs pw. His records indicate we have responded to over 1000 enquiries this year with the number increasing rapidly this month possibly due to the Meet the Shedders events.
Our development plan envisages that the Association will remain a lean organisation whilst increasing the movement’s capacity through partnerships.
The first of these is our agreement with the Royal Voluntary Service (previously WRVS) which is a major step forward for us as they have enormous experience of working with older people and have shown great enthusiasm for supporting groups of men to form and run independent Sheds. They have already engaged a full-time Men’s Sheds Project Manager with the expectation that if the need is there they will employ further development workers. Our experience in providing initial support to the Kent Sheds development worker, which has resulted in 25 Shed groups forming in 18 months, indicates the value of having local level support. We are delighted at the prospect of developing this work with RVS.
We will continue to explore forming further partnerships such as with the West Sussex Public Health Dept. from whom we received substantial support in conducting the national Survey of Sheds. We have assisted Action for Communities in Rural England by supplying them with research data to enhance their fundraising bids for a national team of five Shed Development workers.
A new page on our website, Managing Sheds, will extend our support as the movement grows by enabling Shed leaders to exchange issues and solutions on shed management. This page will be restricted to members.
- Seeking sponsorship/discounts. Considerable work went into seeking a national Sheds insurance policy led by Peter Gallagher from Milton Keynes. Our intention was to mimic the Australian Men’s Sheds Association policy which is a per-person insurance rather than being Shed-based and is administered by their Association. We found that this may be possible as the number of Sheds and our capacity grows and followed this up by surveying a wide range of alternative policies. A small discount is offered by Tennyson Insurance brokers who recommend the Zurich Insight policy. The tool discount scheme from Triton continues along with other support mentioned above.
- Representing the movement takes place by phone, in writing and in person and is quite varied. It has involved answering journalists questions, completing a questionnaire from a mental health organisation, speaking at seminars or having formal meetings. Examples are meeting with Elaine Rashbrook national Lead for Older People at Public Health England which lead to speaking at a subsequent PHE events, attending Think Local Act Personal events (public health workers campaigning for prevention work within the health service), meeting the chair of U3A, and organising contributions from Sheds to a book on the Men’s Sheds movement by Prof Barry Golding. An invitation to meet with Norman Lamb, the Minister for Health was scuppered by the announcement of the General Election. We are meeting with the Charity Commission at their instigation to help smooth the path of applications from Sheds for CIO status.
- Our main effort to build community has centred on enabling the Meet the Shedders events such as the one held in Havant which brought together not only 60+ Shed members from six Sheds but added the Irish and Australian dimensions through the presence of their CEO’s. Our chair also met his counterpart in Australia this year as well as visiting some Sheds. We continue to provide help where we can to the Welsh and the new Scottish Men’s Sheds Associations (e. g providing them with relevant survey data) and look forward to occasional forum meetings with them and other support agencies. With the development of these national associations the focus of our own work will be increasingly on England. We have also sent out six newsletters.
Organisational development: Beyond these activities we have also looked to strengthen the organisation by applying for Charitable Incorporated Organisation status. This was granted on 25/6/15 reg. charity 1162409 . The objects of the organisation we have agreed with the Commission are
The objects of the charity are for the public benefit to:
Promote the efficiency and effectiveness of charities or the effective use of resources for charitable purposes to local Men’s Sheds, and further enable information sharing, communication and co-operation between them and so act as a support body for Men’s Sheds in England, and, working with other national Men’s Sheds associations, the United Kingdom.
The committee put forward Chris Lee, Joe Lewandowski, Alys Exley and Mike Jenn as the initial trustees.
The change of status was partly in preparation for the potential employment of an Executive Director. We are very pleased to say that funds of £66000 over two years have recently been awarded by the Tudor Trust for this purpose. Our application was supported by our 2015-18 development plan. £5000 has been received from the Headley Foundation towards core costs plus a further £2000 from a private donor.
People serving on the Management Committee during the year were
Alys Exley, Peabody, London
Chris Lee, The Repair Shed, Hemel Hempstead
Jo Hobbett, The Tool Shed, Fife (resigned 9/2/15)
Joe Lewandowski, Bedford Shed
Martin Gamester, Total Reuse, Skelmersdale
Mike Jenn, Camden Town Shed, London (chair)
Peter Gallagher, Milton Keynes Shed,(treasurer) (resigned 11/3/15)
Phil Wheatley, Nailsea Social Shedders, Bristol
Bob Adams, Maldon Shed (resigned 9/2/15)
Garry Shore, Co-opted 27/10/14
Mike Barlow, The Shed, Tameside Co-opted 23/3/15 and appointed as Treasurer.
SPECIAL THANKS to Peter Gallagher for two years sterling work on the committee.