Three Year Business Plan April 2015

April 2015

Business Plan for

United Kingdom Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA) April 2015 to March 2018


Executive Summary:

This Business Plan describes the anticipated work of the Association for the next three years. The objectives are to secure a sustainable promotion and support service for the Shed movement and to assist with the development of 280 new Men’s Sheds (also shortened to Sheds) in England. These will improve the health, including mental health, of over 5000 mainly older men as well as enabling them to learn and impart skills and socialise in an environment of their choice.

These outcomes will be delivered over 3 years by staff supported by a management committee and working alongside volunteers. A number of staff will be provided via a partner organisation, the Royal Voluntary Service. The main methods of delivery are publicising the concept and its benefits, supporting interested people to form and establish a Shed, finding support for existing Sheds, and building a community of ‘Shedders’.

Part of the brief will be to set up self-sustaining support services to follow on from the project, delivered in collaboration with partner organisations.

Organisation Summary

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 support that vision by enabling any man who needs it to be able to join a Men’s Shed.              Overall objective: To promote Men’s Sheds and to support their development.                                          Legal status: UKMSA is an unincorporated association managed by an elected committee. We expect our status will change in the coming months to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Background Men’s Sheds are a successful model from Australia where there are now more than 940 (up from 300 four years ago). Each Shed is a community of guys who voluntarily come together around their need to work on projects of their own choosing and at their own pace but in the company of others. In almost every case this involves creating a safe, friendly and inclusive community workspace where members share the tools and resources they need. Members have a high degree of autonomy, attend usually on a drop-in basis and contribute to the management in varying degrees. They are places of individual pursuits and community projects, of skill-sharing and informal learning which offer many people greater purpose, achievement and social interaction. Sheds appeal mostly to men of a mature age, but can be open to people over 18, can involve women, and in some cases young people in an inter-generational programme. 180 Sheds have opened in Ireland since 2009.

The first Shed in the UK was set up by Age Concern Cheshire in October 2009 and four others Age UK Sheds followed in 2010. The first Shed initiated by its users was in April 2011 and this is now the predominant model. The UKMSA was set up in March 2013 by 17 of the 26 Shed 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 called ‘Meet the Shedders’. This was attended by 130 people and served to introduce those enquiring about Sheds to those already operating them.

Strategic Objectives

  1. To create a sustainable support service, including through having improved online guidance, creating voluntary regional networks and developing partnerships with other charities.
  2. To add a further 5500 men to those attending a shed each week by supporting the development of 280 new Men’s Sheds in England (We expect Welsh and Scottish Sheds to be supported primarily by new services underway in those nations)

Currently Open in England       :100 (April 2015)

Interim targets: by March ‘16 : 160

by March ’17 : 260

by March ’18: 380

  1. To have begun evaluating the benefits of attending Men’s Sheds.

Implementation and services

The Objectives are to be achieved by delivering the following services in conjunction with any partners :

  1. a) promoting the idea of Men’s Sheds by all media
  2. b) initiating new Shed Groups by connecting individuals and partner organisations
  3. c) providing existing Sheds with guidance and resources
  4. d) supporting the financial health of Sheds though attracting sponsorships, trade discounts etc
  5. e) representing Men’s Sheds within public authority and voluntary sector networks
  6. f) building an inclusive and mutually supportive regional, national and international Shed community

Contextual analysis: External

Continued demand: The growth rate of Sheds both here and abroad shows that the needs that drive some men to come together to form Sheds are universal (social, equipped workspace, skill-sharing, identity) and their objective is achieveable. Demographic trends show an increase in need is likely. The Age UK Factsheet (Apr 2015) reports: The 14.7m people are over 60 in the UK will rise to 20m by 2030. Of these 1.1m are men living alone and this number will rise proportionately. On average over 65’s will live 10.1 years in good health. Depression affects 22% of men over 65.

Austerity: Volunteer-run sheds can be very low-cost to establish and run. Only 10% of Australian Sheds have paid staff and this is likely to be the case here. There may be a reduction in local support agencies but in the near future the number of specialist support staff will rise, there will be improved online guidance and a growth in regional Shed networks.

Politically: The increasing ‘grey vote’ might encourage more investment in older person provision. Men’s Sheds are a Big Society example.

Health: There is a growing trend in the public health field to explore cost reductions by investing in prevention measures. There are several ‘social prescribing initiatives underway. Sheds fit neatly into the current NHS ‘Wellbeing’ agenda and deliver four of the five New Economics Foundation’s evidence-based ‘Five ways to Wellbeing’ actions (see )

Environmental: Sheds almost always reuse materials to make new or mend existing products.

Technical: Men’s Sheds fit within a growing international movement which includes Hackspaces, Makerspaces, Labs etc.

Contextual analysis: Internal

In a recent analysis (March 2015) our committee’s view included


Strengths Opportunities
Management is by elected Shed leaders Delivers on current policies (Wellbeing, older people)
1000+ people interested in joining a Shed on d/b. Many potential Shedders
Established presence with Sheds Attractive to sponsors and collaborators
Established presence with media Developing RVS relationship
Main advisory agency for Sheds Promoting a low-cost initiative
Easily appreciated idea
Some great example Sheds
Recognised website presence
Shed development experience to build on e.g. Kent


Weaknesses Responses
Lack of capacity Fundraising for staff, bring in RVS worker(s)
Management time/skills deficit Creating two spaces for appointed outsiders
Low level of two-way communication Needs personal contact, will be more possible once capacity is raised
Website weaknesses Redesign underway, new material being added
Weak finances More fundraising to be undertaken
Association status CIO constitution approved application underway.
The Association gets marginalised by bigger organisations Not a threat to the movement
Unable to speak for movement as a whole Shed survey needed , strengthen membership offer.

Summary of UKMSA’s current work: The delivery of the services above is already underway having commenced in 2012 with the creation of a national website describing Sheds and advising interested parties on their development. Mass media (TV, radio, national papers, magazines, social media, events) have all been engaged to introduce the Shed concept to the public and the authorities. Many new groups have been helped to form and over 700 enquiries for guidance from prospective and open Sheds were answered in 2014. Two sponsors have been found to support our programmes and a discount arranged for insurance. The movement as been represented to Public Health England and at other public health forums, to local authorities, and at several events run by associated charities e.g. the Campaign to End Loneliness. Networking in this way helps to create a positive atmosphere in which sheds can grow. The work to date has been delivered primarily by the organisation’s chair supported by other members of the management committee and from October 2014 by an administrator working up to 2 days per week.

This work has supported an accelerating growth of sheds across the UK as illustrated by this graph. A reassuring feature of this graph is that the number of planned sheds is continuing to keep pace with the number of open Sheds.

Additional planned work for 2015-16. Two objectives will be served by one funded programme called Meet the Shedders. This is a series of 10 regional events where Sheds from across a region will gather to form informal networks as well as invite all local intersted parties to meet with them and find out why people attend and what they do etc. A new website will be launched with contributions from members for a new section on Managing a Shed. A further boost will be given to supporting Shed start-ups with the appointment of a new staff member funded by the Royal Voluntary Service. West Sussex Public Health Dept plan to carry out a surveys of Sheds and Shedders to provide us with some basic data on Sheds and the health of those who attend them.

Project Delivery April 2015- April 2018

Planned Outcomes:

National support network sustainable Develop partnerships with charities that will fund and deploy shed development workers. RVS to commence in 2015. UKMSA to fundraise for up to 1 FTE core staff by 2016. Staff team (inc partners) to reach 5 FTE by mid 2016. 2015 
Website content developed Upgrading of guidance element of content to include a new section on Shed management substantially written by existing Shedders. This section members-only. 2015
Sponsorship Obtain a sponsorship deal with a major company 2016
Insurance Establish a self-administered group insurance policy (subject to fundraising) 2016
Conferences Organise two national conferences of Shedders 2016/7/8
Establish UK forum Achieve working relationship between the Welsh, Scottish and N.I Associations for learning and mutual benefit. 2015
Training courses started Courses run between Sheds to share skills/stimulate new activities/techniques. Courses offered by the Association to generate income by 2017. 2015
Membership Membership to grow to 120 2018
Representation Local networks formed in 2015 following Meet the Shedders programme. Representative elections to central committee in 2016. 2015
Add 280 more Sheds in England The current growth rate in England has been just better than I a week in the last six months. This is accelerating. For more detail see the paragraphs below. * 2018
Develop data To better represent Sheds nationally and to support fundraising we need to establish the health benefits of Sheds. Two baseline surveys will be carried out by the West Sussex Public Health Dept in 2015. Others to follow. 2015


* We believe our target is possible for the following reasons:

The current growth rate has been achieved with minimal resources.

With more input it will continue to increase. Evidence for this comes in particular from Kent where a full-time coordinator serves the county and has supported the development of 18 Shed groups within 16 months. The addition of the RVS worker will considerably increase our capacity and by the end of the year we believe that will increase again from our own fundraising. We are also open to other partnerships.

There is a depth of interest in communities. A well-publicised introductory public meeting can attract 35 or more men of retirement age to an afternoon event. The borough Havant in Hants has three Sheds open indicating that there is scope for more than one Shed in a local area.

There are plenty of examples of low-cost sheds (even a self-funding one) that will encourage new groups and support agencies.

Following the 10 Meet the Shedders regional events we expect many more people in authorities and charities to appreciate their value and be encouraged to start or support new groups. There will also be more local support from existing Sheds we believe once informal networks form following these events.

Staff requirement:

UKMSA aims to remain a lean organisation and thereby encourage mutual aid amongst Sheds and the involvement of the wider voluntary and statutory sectors. The programme will be delivered in 2015 by a full-time team leader (from May) employed by the Royal Voluntary Service, a part-time (14hrs) paid administrator and the voluntary work (30 hrs) of the UKMSA Chair.

In 2016 and thereafter the team will be further supplemented by regional Shed Development workers employed by partner organisations, and an increase up to 1 FTE of UKMSA staff.

 Financial Plan

In the future we plan that income will be from member fees, earnings, donations, sponsorships and grants.


  1. Memberships. At present joining the Association doesn’t bring any specific benefits other than to be able to vote at a General Meeting. It is more an action of support for a service that benefits more men by encouraging Shed development. This will change a little as we plan to develop a Managing a Shed section of the website which will be restricted to members to allow free comment on management issues. It will also grow if we succeed in copying the Australian self-administered insurance model which incorporates the membership in with the fees. Full membership is open to Sheds and prospective Sheds and varies between £15 and £50 dependant on turnover. Associate membership (non-voting) is open to support organisations and individuals by donation.
  2. Earnings: Again we anticipate this being a contributory factor rather than a significant one. Sources of potential earnings we see are sales of advertising on our website, conference fee receipts and surpluses from training courses. Members have run successful day courses introducing the public to crafts e.g. wood-turning, and more of this approach, where the ‘old craftsman’ passes on a skill is envisaged but not yet planned. Only the sale of advertising might produce early income and other income from commissions will never be great.
  3. Donations will make a contribution but we think these will also be low. Individual Sheds attract many donations but the Association is less likely to. They will be facilitated by a Paypal button on our website and by collections at events.
  4. Sponsorships: We have received sponsorship worth £11,000 for our Meet the Shedders programme but sponsors are less likely to part with cash than giving say staff time. Sponsorship has also come in payments made directly by larger organisations directly and not through our accounts. We think there is some scope here for specific programmes which are not planned yet.
  5. Grants: Experience in Australia and Ireland suggests that public authorities (e. g. Dept of Health) will come to support the Shed movement eventually but that they need much more evidence before acting. Grants in the near future are most likely to come from charitable sources such as foundations, especially those targeting the ageing population.

Projected Income and Expenditure Apr 2015-March 2018

Income 2015/6 2016/7 2017/8
Memberships @ 30% of English Sheds open x £20 £1,000 £1,800 £2,600
Advertising     £1000-£3000 £1,000 £3,000
Conference receipts @£10pp £1,500 £2,000
Commissions on online sales
Training course receipts @ £250 £750 £1,250
Donations from philanthropic individuals, collections at events,*£2000 received, £400 spent £1,600 £2,000 £3,000
Sponsorships £3,000 £8,000
Grant for Administration Allen Lane £2500 spent. £3,835
Grants Meet the Shedders £9414 AWA;£5000 RVS Plus Tudor app.£20500 6 mo.** £34,914 £41,000 £22,210
Total Income £41,349 £51,050 £42,060
Freelance Executive Director @ £40000 x 0.4 Yr 1 =£1333pm. Yr 2/3 at 0.6FTE =£2000pm £8,000 £24,000 £24,000
Freelance Administrator current rate£5-900pm plus   0.4 FTE @ 1167pm x 24 m (6mo.) £12,402 £14,000 £14,000
Conference/training fees @ £200 £400 £600 £800
Staff travel @£300 pm x 24 m £1,800 £7,200 £7,200
Telephone, email, office consumables @£100pm £600 £1,200 £1,200
Website and IT support @ £250 pm £1,500 £3,000 £3,000
Print £200 £200 £300
AGM costs 2 x £250 £250 £250 £250
Insurance   2 x £250 pa £250 £250 £250
National Conference 2x £2500 £2,500 £2,500
Trustee travel to committee mtgs 4 x £120p.a. £480 £480 £480
Meet the Shedders £14,414
Total £40,296 £53,680 £53,980



UK Men’s Sheds Association

Camden Town Shed

156 St Paul’s Crescent

London NW1 9XZ


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