A movement of 'Men's Sheds' that started in Australia in 2007 has been taking root in the UK since 2011. There are over 900 Sheds in Australia and over 300 in the UK with 100 more being planned.
The Sheds are a larger version of a garden shed. A place where men feel at home and pursue practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. A group of men share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men come together to work.
These usually involve making or mending in wood but may include metalworking, bike repair, gardening, electronics, tool renovation, boat renovation, model engineering, etc. Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly.
Although Sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people. Each Shed decide their rules for their context.
Research has shown considerable benefits:
Decreasing social isolation - helping reduce one of the known risk factors for becoming depressed.
Developing positive relationships
Having a sense of belonging to something that is worthwhile and positive.
Feeling useful, having a sense of purpose
Enhancing self esteem - participating in a peer group and having their voices heard.
Increasing access to specific information about health
Providing a mediating structure between the ‘everyday world of men’ and the health care system.
Improving physical and mental health outcomes.
Here's a short 3 minute video on the concept:
Given that this helps combat loneliness, has considerable health benefits, teaches life skills and creates community, could churches help set up Men's Sheds in their community?
More details are given here at the Men's Sheds UK site.
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Geoff Knott, 04/04/2017