Where do we start?
There isn’t one specific way to start a Men’s Shed and every Shed is different and unique, so some parts of this section will be more relevant to your journey than others. Some Sheds are set up by local community members, while others might be set up with help from external agencies. Not all of the listed steps are mandatory, so feel free to skip any parts that aren’t relevant to you at this time. However, it is useful to consider each piece of information to future-proof your new Shed.
A good starting point may be to engage people in your local community that might be interested in a Men’s Shed. You might choose to form a more formal ‘steering group’ or simply meet for a regular coffee in a local café. Public meetings are a good way to spread your message, garner community support and attract willing volunteers. This might also be a starting point to help you identify potential premises, any funding available in the community, or any supplies or equipment that people in the community might have. It is also a good idea to visit other Men’s Sheds to get useful tips and inspiration.
Before deciding on the location of your Shed and the funds that you might need to get started it is important to think about what you and your potential new members will actually do in the Shed.
As mentioned, Men’s Sheds typically have a practical space where members take part in activities, and a social space where members can chat. These areas don’t need to be exclusive. Men are well known to do most of their socialising while taking part in an activity, so this is a very important aspect. But it is also true that Shedders also like to congregate around the kettle for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
Traditionally Men’s Sheds are based on the garden Shed model of being full of tools for making things. However, Sheds are well known to provide a wide range of activities.