What is a Men’s Shed

Professionals

What do we mean by ‘Professionals’?

What do we mean by ‘Professionals’? This section is to try and look through the lenses of organisations and explain what they see when they support Scottish Men’s Sheds and the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association. Organisations, statutory bodies, philanthropists and individuals support this because it aligns with their purpose and aims.

For example,

  • Various grant and award organisations like the Lotteries are there to help support local initiatives which improve their communities lives.
  • The Scottish Government might see it helping them meet their national outcomes for a healthier, stronger and safer country. (http://www.gov.scot/About/Performance/scotPerforms/outcomes)
  • Scottish councils who align to these national outcomes then support Men’s Sheds by including it into their community planning outcomes. (Shed premises – Community Asset Transfers / Community Empowerment.)
  • Organisations like the Royal British Legion, Scotland (Legion Scotland) see the potential to build a network of combined Men’s Sheds and Legion Scotland clubs that are underpinned by comradeship and wellbeing, and the fostering of true community spirit regardless of someone’s background.
  • Royal Voluntary Services see that their volunteers can support Shedders who have no transport to get to a Shed and improve all their lives.
  • GP’s and health practitioners support it as they tell us there is nothing that suits certain male patients who are challenged by having ‘time on their hands’ for whatever reasons, to become engaged or re-engaged in a healthy way with their communities.

Dr Artur Steiner of Glasgow Caledonian University speaks on a variety of health topics and their relation to Men’s Sheds at the SMSA Launch 2015.

If you want to know possibly everything about Men’s Sheds we suggest you acquire:

The Men’s Shed Movement – The Company of Men, Barry Golding. (ISBN 9781612297873) available through Amazon online or an E version download – (http://agingandsociety.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.335/prod.3)

Below is part of a presentation that was done by Professor Barry Golding (https://barrygoanna.com), Chair of Board, International Men’s Shed Organisation (IMSO) and Australian Men’s Sheds Association Patron: Discovering Men’s Sheds Conference, Leicester, England, 29 Sept 2011 which will further expand on this section.

What are community men’s sheds, as developed in Australia since 1995?

  • Now the largest community association in Australia focused on the needs, health, wellbeing & interests of men.
  • A new ‘movement’ of shed-based community organisations, mainly for and by men.
  • Providing a safe, regular, social space, for informal, voluntary activity & programs with many other possibilities & outcomes.
  • Unlike ‘backyard’ sheds, available to groups of men, independently organised or in auspice arrangements through other community organisations.
  • Usually (but not always) with a group workshop space, tools and equipment a public, shed-type setting
  • As diverse as the men and communities they spring from.

What do ‘professionals’ see in a shed?

A place for:

  • men’s health (health worker)
  • masculinities (gender academic)
  • learning (educator)
  • counseling about behaviour (psychologist)
  • retiring and ageing (a gerontologist)
  • doing stuff (occupational therapist)
  • men to get out of the house (a sociologist)
  • social engagement & connection (community services)
  • tackling substance abuse (drug worker)
  • research (academic)
  • wooing votes (politicians)
  • Men’s lives (and needs) beyond paid work are diverse & do not fit into one, neat, academic box.

Sustainable community development: from what’s wrong to what’s strong | Cormac Russell | TEDxExeter. This is the solution based support and ethos we embody in the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association and why this grass roots movement is growing so well in such a sustainable way.

Sheds work for (and are supported by some governments & professionals) because they:

  • attract men who are otherwise missing (who won’t access services that patronize them)
  • provide places to embed programs and meet men, ‘at home’, on their terms
  • operate and are responsive to diverse men’s diverse needs at a local level.
  • tick all of the Social Determinants of Health
  • provide some services free, cheaper or more effectively than governments.

Shed practice informs educators by identifying factors that ‘put men off’ formal learning and keep them unwell & out of work:

  • previous negative experiences of schooling
  • a dislike of formal learning & literacies
  • limited access to education, training & services that match men’s preferred ways of learning
  • limited access to computers & internet
  • age discrimination in employment & training
  • sickness, disability, caring & family roles.

For men (and all adults) …

When will governments learn the social (& economic) value of grassroots wellbeing through community organisations rather than just measuring the cost?

How can other services be transformed in similar ways that value participants over clients?

We hope that all people who have read the three sections can appreciate the different ‘views’, benefits and reasons why these new and important places need to be supported and created throughout Scotland.

What our members say

In short. We already feel invigorated, more motivated, more active, healthier and indeed happier. Isn’t that what a Shed is about?- Bill B
Your advice and help in negotiating and securing us a lease has been invaluable. We wish you every success in developing the SMSA to the point that every area in Scotland will have a regional advisor. - Alan P
There have been times when the task ahead of us has seemed too much and without your presence to re-kindle our motivation we might have faltered.- Peter
Many thanks for such a fulsome conversation this morning. Both Lawson and I learnt a great deal from our chat and from your advice. Well Being!- Alan S

Men involved in community Men’s Sheds report living healthier, happier and more connected lives.