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What is a Regional Shed Network?

A Regional Shed Network is a group of Sheds located in a geographical area of their own definition that connect and support each other. Regional Shed Networks champion partnership and communication amongst Sheds, and can be a great way to amplify the voice of local Sheds as a collective.

Each Regional Shed Network will operate differently. Most will have a chairperson and hold regular virtual or face to face meetings where Sheds can come together to share ideas and information. Some may have many members and operate across a whole county, and others are smaller scale. Some Shed Networks may create their own websites or produce their own resources for Sheds in their area.

Some Shed Networks are run by organisations and may have paid members of staff supporting them as part of specific projects centred around growing and supporting Sheds. For example, the Essex Shed Network is a not-for-profit partnership between Maldon & District CVS and CVS Uttlesford and is funded by National Lottery’s Community Fund. Other Networks are set up and run by the Sheds themselves. The Northern Home Counties and North London Shed Network hold quarterly meetings hosted on a rotating basis by Sheds in the region.

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Why should I join or start a Regional Shed Network?

Your Shed may benefit from joining a Regional Shed Network if you’d like to connect with other Sheds, share ideas, challenges and successes or be involved in regional events.

Regional Shed Networks are a great way to keep in touch with other Sheds for peer support. They can also offer more in-depth local information regarding funding or grants, events in the area, information about community development or other changes that may affect the local demographic. Sheds are autonomous and can make their own rules but sometimes Sheds in a network may decide on a collective approach to establishing guidelines or problem solving.

Regional Shed Networks may also organise external speakers to run sessions at meetings. These can vary from practical Shed or craft related topics, to general health and wellbeing.

Can I start my own Regional Shed Network?

You can! If there isn’t a Regional Shed Network in your area, it might be useful for you to start your own. You could start with contacting Sheds in your own neighbourhood to see if there are many local to you. If you find there aren’t many Sheds in your wider area this can help us to identify areas where Sheds might be needed. For more information about starting a Regional Shed Network, speak to your local Shed Ambassador or have a look in our Member’s Area for our top tips.

Think about the area your network will cover

Some Networks are county wide, but this can have implications on physical meeting locations, travel time, distance and expense. Think about how many Sheds are in your local area, how many could realistically come together, and the maximum amount of people that could participate meaningfully in group discussions.

Get other Sheds interested

You don’t need many Sheds interested in order to be able to form a Regional Shed Network. Contact Shed Leaders in your local area and find out if they would like to be involved. Three or four Sheds that are willing to take on the initial organisation of the Network should be all you need. Someone should take on the role of Chair ready for your first meeting.

Plan and hold your first meeting

Most Regional Shed Networks prefer to hold face to face meetings where possible, or alternate between in person meetings, and online. Some Networks rotate hosting the meetings at their individual Sheds; others hire a community space. Plan a loose agenda, a few points should be enough for discussion. If you are meeting face to face, make sure there are refreshments available!

Organise your future meetings and network agreements

At your first meeting it is a good idea to discuss how often meetings should be held going forward (some Networks meet quarterly, others may meet more frequently), location of the meetings, how information will be communicated to members, and how to raise agenda items in the future.

Top Tips!

  • Regional Shed Networks don’t need to be formal. They are mostly about sharing support, ideas and inspiration. 
  • Face to face meetings can often facilitate invaluable informal discussion during breaks and networking.
  • Although a Shed may be a member of a Regional Shed Network, usually only a few members from each Shed attend meetings. 
  • Hosting Network meetings in Sheds can offer a way for Shedders to actually see how other Sheds look and function. 

Top Tips!

  • Some Sheds that host meetings may collect small contributions from Sheds attending to pay for refreshments or room hire, rather using their Shed funds. 
  • Some Regional Shed Networks may wish to become a CIO if they plan to handle larger amounts of money in order to put on their own events, for example. 
  • Most Regional Shed Networks will have a Men’s Shed Association Ambassador as a member. Shed Ambassadors provide a useful link between Networks and the UK Men’s Sheds Association. 
  • Some Regional Shed Networks have support from local Development Officers (or similar roles) to grow and manage their Network as well as supporting Sheds in their area. 

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