One thing that’s really clear to us from chatting to woodworkers at shows and events is that they love to share details of their work, tips for improvements, and generally natter about their projects and tools.
However it’s often the case that men over the age of 50 spend a good deal of time on their own in the workshop, garden, or home alone. In particular when gents retire they often lose their primary social contact with workmates and colleagues, and as a consequence can become isolated and lonely. And that’s not good for physical or mental health.
This was the issue that the Men’s Sheds movement – originally conceived in Australia - was set up to counter. Sheds are cropping up all over the world with the same primary aim: to give men an opportunity to socialise with a common purpose focused around practical projects and hobbies. The range of activities they get up to in their sheds is huge and includes woodwork, metalwork, model making and photography, but there is really no limit. The key point is that a shed is set up and run by the members for the members.
There are over a thousand sheds in Australia, and more than one hundred and fifty in Ireland, and at the beginning of November the UK joined the party with the launch of the UK Men’s Sheds Association in London. There are forty sheds already set up in the UK and many more in the pipeline, and the locations are as varied as their members. Gosport Shed is based in an old Royal Navy fort, whilst others are based in vacant shop units or community centres. The activities reflect the skills and interests of those involved as well as the community around them.
Triton attended the UK Men’s Sheds Association Launch and chatted to lots of the ‘Shedders’. They are an inspiring bunch and could quite literally be a life saver for those that get involved. Over the next few months we will be visiting several groups to give you a peak behind the shed door. If you’re a member of a Men’s Shed Association from anywhere across the globe and would like to share what you’re doing with the Triton community, drop us a line - it would be great to hear from you!
The UK Men’s Sheds Association offers practical advice to those wanting to set up a shed in the UK. There’s also the chance to link up with other sheds across the country. They can be contacted via their website; www.Menssheds.org.uk