The Purpose of ‘Mens Sheds’ in Australia
How many of us in the UK joke about men loving their sheds? Most of you will be familiar with the book entitled ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ I know that this particular book focuses on ‘love’ but the whole principle can be applied to ‘sheds’. That is, men love them and women don’t understand why! Put a few nails, tools and paint in a shed, throw in a few cobwebs and spiders into the equation, ban women from entering and men are in their element and will spend hours in there!
On a serious note, the Australians theorised that if men like that environment then it would make sense to create a place similar to a large shed, that could be used as a hub for older men who might be feeling lonely and isolated, have time on their hands and would like to do something meaningul with that time. The men who visit these sheds are volunteers who do practical things such as mending people’s bikes, make props for an amateur dramatics society and make friends with other men who have a similar interests etc. Such a simple but effective concept. ‘Men’s Sheds’ were first established in Australia in 2007 and is a charitable not-for-profit association, which is funded by the Australian Federal Government. These sheds have been well received by men. So much so, they are now established as part of the health infrastructure that support programmes to improve men’s health and well being.
I believe that the introduction of ‘Mens Sheds’ in the UK might be an effective way to engage with older men, who find it dificult to engage with services and help reduce the sense of isolation and mental ill health that they experience. I believe this is something the government, the Department of Health, Health and Well Being Boards and Public Health should explore, especially as the Australian Federal government use them as a health intiative to engage with men. I genuinely hope someone picks this gauntlet up and runs with it. If you do, I would love to know how you go on.
For more information about ‘Mens Sheds’ click on the link below.