Men's Sheds started in Australia relatively recently, and have rapidly become a significant force in the English-speaking world. With 1300 Sheds now registered in Australia and over 240 in the UK, the movement is growing fast, but each Shed is an autonomous, self governing entity, where the Shed members (Shedders) control and implement their own programme.
A Shed is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – but it's not just somewhere to keep the lawnmower. It's a place where a man feels at home and decides for himself what practical interests he wants to pursue.
A Men's Shed is a place of leisure where men come together to work and socialise over a cup of tea. A friendly place, where members share the tools, knowledge and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace. It's a place where skills are shared and learning is informal; where purpose, achievement and social interaction go together with individual pursuits and community projects.
Shed projects usually involve making or mending in wood (e.g. carpentry, joinery, turning, carving or furniture renovation) but may include many other activities. Members choose what they do. Reclamation, reuse and restoration feature strongly – some say that's true of the men too!
Although Sheds are traditionally for older men, we include men of any age and all abilities, living in the Somerset Levels and Moors area - there are no other restrictions! We are not experts, so anyone with specific problems is welcome to bring a carer.
We're a community-based organisation that provides a safe, inclusive environment for those who have time on their hands by being retired, between jobs, or who may never have had a job. All active men will be welcome into what is being created as a democratic venture.
In the UK the UK Men's Shed Association is the main coordinating body, and a mine of useful information. Visit their web site at http://menssheds.org.uk and have a look at Shoulder to Shoulder, their occasional newsletter.
There is an excellent video available online at http://bettershedthandead.co.uk, explaining some of the history and reasoning behind the Men's Shed movement, with examples and success stories from around the UK, Australia and Ireland.