Members of Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life – what unites them is that they usually have time on their hands and would like something meaningful to do with that time.
“Wellbeing” comes from many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive, connecting with friends, sharing activities, contributing to your community and maintaining an active mind and body. Coming along to a Men’s Shed can help to provide a friendly environment where men can find many of these things in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship. And, importantly, there is no pressure – you can just come and have a blether and a cup of tea if that is all you’re looking for.
“Men don’t talk face to face – they talk shoulder to shoulder”
Men’s Sheds started in Australia but are now growing strongly in Scotland. Sheds grew from the idea that men typically like spending time tinkering, repairing, and making things while socialising with others who have similar interests. Many, too, are interested in working on projects that will aid the community and be of use to other people. Often the experience to solve any problem is within a group of men but even just help to get started can be valuable.
The Men’s Shed movement is about every man at any stage of life, for any reason.
However, some men can at times inevitably find life more difficult than at other times. Unlike women, men can find it hard to fit into social networks or create new ones which would provide mutual support and cameraderie. This is particularly true when we find ourselves in one of the many life-changing situations that occur – leaving school or college/university with little prospect of employment, redundancy, retirement, loss of a partner, leaving the armed services, relationship breakdown, children growing and moving on or moving away due to divorce, physical illness, incapacitation or mental illness.
For these and other reasons men can suffer worse health, drink more, take more risks and suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. The Men’s Shed movement has now become one of the most powerful tools in today’s society to address health and wellbeing and help men once again become valued and productive members of our community.
Inside a “Shed”
Not all Men’s Sheds are the same and a lot of different stuff goes on. The traditional Men’s Shed activities are of making, mending, restoring or servicing (e.g. bicycles or lawn mowers) and planning community help activities. There will naturally always be tea, coffee and a blether, in a comfortable area to sit and talk. We also get involved with learning or passing on computer skills or website building, cooking skills, cards etc. But you can make the Men’s Shed whatever you want it to be. Not excited by the above? Any ideas of your own? Bring them along and try them out!
Although the Men’s Shed image has traditionally been one of mainly retired folk, this is not mandatory! There is no lower age limit and the only qualification to come along is thatyou’re interested in getting stuck in. We can say one thing though – some of the best stories come from the older ones amongst us – hair raising exploits from the days before Elf ‘n’ Safety for example. Come along and see if you can better these stories.