The Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) has today opened its prestigious ‘Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year’ Awards 2021 to applications from Men’s Sheds across Scotland.
The awards recognise and reward the contribution and impact Men’s Sheds make to society – telling the story to raise awareness of the benefits of Sheds to men, their family and friends and the community as a whole. The awards event will take place virtually on Zoom again this year as part of the Association’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 4th November 2021.
The Scottish Men’s Sheds Movement began in 2009 and the first-ever Shed opened in Westhill in Aberdeenshire in 2013. There are now 190+ Sheds across Scotland, identified on the SMSA’s online ‘Find a Shed’ map, voluntarily engaging over 10,000 men. Men’s Sheds have a positive impact in supporting men’s health and wellbeing and encourage members to become more engaged within their communities to reduce social isolation and loneliness and also, needed now more than ever, provide a unique pathway towards post-COVID-19 recovery.
Jason Schroeder, SMSA’s Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to launch these awards, for the third year, to celebrate and showcase the life-changing work being carried out in Men’s Sheds across Scotland. Sheds are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of men (aged 18 and over) through friendship, support and camaraderie and we want to hear from Scottish Sheds on the impact they are having within their localities.
“We also want to know about the challenges they have faced and how they overcame them so that other Sheds can learn from their experience. Although, the event is being carried out online again this year, it certainly will not stop the Shedders coming together to share experiences and learn from each other.”
Last year, The Inverclyde Shed was crowned ‘Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year’ 2020 – receiving 36% of the total votes from the public. Bruce Newlands, Chair of The Inverclyde Shed, said: “It was a huge surprise being awarded this title from the SMSA, particularly given the difficulties we and every Shed experienced learning to live with COVID-19. The award has helped unlock doors and make new partnerships with a range of people that we previously had not connected with. Many other Sheds have reached out in friendship to learn from how we’ve done things and the lessons we have learned. The award has also brought a great sense of pride to our Shed and our area – a belief that we can be confident that we are really making a difference.”
In 2019, Aberchirder and District Men’s Shed scooped the title of the very first ‘Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year’. The Shed was recognised for the incredible work carried out since its inception in 2016 and the team of seven men who carried out 30,000 man-hours over the 104-week construction process on its Shed build before its official opening in May 2019. Mike O’Brien, Chairman of the Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed, said: “Since winning the title in 2019, we have had a busy and successful time – our reputation just seemed to escalate and we have recently won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service too.”
Scottish Sheds – that are members of the SMSA – can apply online by midnight on Sunday 26th September 2021. Shortlisted Sheds will be selected from all of the applications by SMSA’s Trustees before going to a public vote for two weeks from Monday 4th October 2021 in the run-up to the event. The winner and two runners-up will be announced on the day. The winner will receive the esteemed targe trophy – designed and collectively created by SMSA and several Scottish Sheds – to display at their Shed for a year in addition to receiving an array of prizes from supporting organisations.