Wharfedale Men’s Shed is an independent charity registered with the Charities Commission. We meet weekly and are run by a Committee of 4 Trustees who are all instrumental in building up and running the Shed. This is voluntary work and has no bearing on my private practice. I make reference to it on my website as the more people that know about it the better. It sits under the wider umbrella of the UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA), which is the support body for Men’s Sheds across the UK. UKMSA work hard to inspire and support the development of as many Men’s Sheds as possible, for the benefit of men’s health and wellbeing. UKMSA help raise awareness of the Men’s Sheds movement and the many benefits of Shedding and support Men’s Sheds in getting off the ground and thriving as community-driven, member-led entities. They don’t own or manage Men’s Sheds, but they do champion them for miles around.
What is a Men’s Shed?
Men’s Sheds (or Sheds) are similar to garden sheds – a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.
Sheds are whatever the members (or Shedders as we call them) want them to be. Although labelled sheds, they often aren’t sheds at all. They can be empty offices, Portakabins, warehouses, garages, and in at least one case, a disused mortuary. Some Sheds are purpose built workshops, but they rarely start out that way. Many don’t have premises at all in the beginning and instead form a group that meets regularly for the social connection, company and camaraderie until they can find somewhere to kit out with tools. Many Sheds get involved in community projects too – restoring village features, helping maintain parks and green spaces, and building things for schools, libraries and individuals in need.
Whatever the activity, the essence of a Shed is not a building, but the connections and relationships between its members.
Why are they needed?
For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and well-being. Recently we have seen more evidence come to light that shows loneliness and isolation can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking. Surveys from mental health charities are finding that millions of people report feeling lonely on a daily basis.
Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, less older men have networks of friends and rarely share personal concerns about health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that.
Sheds are about meeting like-minded people and having someone to share your worries with. They are about having fun, sharing skills and knowledge with like-minded people and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives.
Men’s Sheds are vital.
Please email me for more information about when we meet and where.