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Published 12 July 2023

This year UK Men’s Sheds Association were invited along to attend the BBC Gardener’s World Live event at the NEC, Birmingham. The show runs for four days over a weekend in June and usually has around 100,000 people attending over the course of the event. Plenty of people to talk to about Men’s Sheds!!!

The show was opening up a new section this year called ‘The Tool Shed’ which, as it sounds, hosted exhibitors with a more tool and gardening equipment focus, with the section containing its own stage for talks from the likes of Makita and Wilkinson Sword. UKMSA were also asked to do a series of eight talks over the weekend to tell people a little more about Sheds. 

Allan Clark, one of our veteran volunteer Shed Ambassadors from The Lion’s Den up in Keighley, Yorkshire, agreed to be our inspirational speaker for the weekend. Allan has a way with words and is very easy to listen to, filling the bench seats for many of his talks. He even spotted tv and radio presenter Nicki Chapman sat in the audience listening to him! 

If you’d like to see Allan in action giving another talk and hear about more about his life have a look at his Ted X talk Life Chances | Allan Clark | TEDxKeighley – YouTube

We were lucky to have some amazing support from some local Shedders over the weekend, helping on the stand and sharing information about the Shed movement and their own Sheds and experiences, with members of the public. Craig Davis from Acocks Green Men’s Shed brought along a home-made trebuchet which can fire objects up to 100ft (unfortunately we didn’t get to test this!) and a 24kg chainmail vest; as you can imagine, both drew a lot of attention. We were also supported by Jim and Liz Rose from Acocks Green Shed, Steff Williams from Moseley & Kings Heath Shed, Ambassador Arthur Dyas and Shedder Sally Baker from Redditch Shed. A big thank you to all our volunteers for giving their time and support to UKMSA at the event. 

Attending events such as these can help us reach a new audience. We had many visitors to the stand that had heard a little bit about Men’s Sheds and wanted to find out more, but for some people it was a totally new concept. In just a couple of minutes we could tell someone what a Shed was, and how to find one. Many people went away wanting to look up their nearest Shed, either for themselves, or for a family member or friend. We also had a few Shedders pop by and say hello, like the guys from Dereham Men’s Shed, giving us a chance to connect and show that we are out there representing them.

The UKMSA will be attending a couple more events over the course of the year, including CarFest in Basingstoke (bank holiday weekend, August) and the North of England Woodworking and Power Tool Show in Harrogate (10-12thNovember). If you are from a Shed local to these areas and would like to help us out, drop me a line!

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