Irish Men's Shed

Provide a space in your community where men can find meaning, friendship and belonging

5 Step Guide to

Irish Men's Shed

Overview


Irish Men's Shed "Welcome to the ChangeX Men's Sheds guide! We're delighted you're thinking about starting a shed in your community. Here you’ll find all the information, practical tips and resources you need. There is someone to help you at each stage of the journey so don't be afraid to get in touch!" - Barry Sheridan, Irish Men's Sheds Association

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist

Time

As a leader you’ll need approximately 1 day a week to start and maintain a shed in your local community.


Hold an Information Meeting

To test the level of interest among local men in getting involved in a Shed, organising an information meeting is a good way to start. You can do this by first talking to a few friends or local people you know will be interested in helping you get started. Once they’re on board you can start organising the information meeting.

There are a few things to consider:

  • Location
  • Agenda
  • Invitations & Advertising
  • Running the meeting

Location

Holding the meeting in a suitable venue is essential (e.g. a local community, church or sports hall could work perfectly) - somewhere that is comfortable and accessible.

Agenda

Working off an agenda will help you to cover a small number of priority items and give direction to the meeting (see sample Agendas in Appendix 1).

"I’m Gerry and I set up a shed in Athy Co. Kildare… I like going to the men's shed for the company and the craic! there is the banter and divilment lads get up to at work - but replaced at the shed…" - Gerry Walsh,
Mens Shed, Athy

Advertising & Invitations

Getting the word around is vital. Local radio, parish newsletters, a poster campaign and/or using social media will enable you to reach as broad an audience as possible. Putting flyers through letterboxes and posters in local shops will also help get the word around.

You want to particularly reach men, as well as other local community members and potential businesses and sponsors that might be interested in getting involved. Engaging with men that may be your ‘shedders’ should be the focus of the first meeting. Choosing a date that does not clash with a major sporting event or another community event is wise!

Some invitations may need to be directed to individuals rather than a scatter-gun approach and then hoping for the best. Where you would like to have local voluntary and statutory groups represented, ‘Letters of Invitation’ should be addressed to a specific individual rather than using a flyer for this purpose.

Running the Meeting

It’s important to bill the meeting in terms of ‘Would you be interested in setting up and/or being part of a local Men’s Shed?’ This way you will not over commit yourself and others until the level of initial interest is clear and tangible, people will also feel part of the starting process and will be more willing to help out.

Having a person who is comfortable facilitating the business and process of the meeting will convey confidence to your audience and ensure that good participation happens. You should also have a person to keep notes of the meeting: the issues raised, suggestions made and additional information sought.

Call

Give us a call if you have any questions on running your information meeting – we’re here to help!

Very few people will refuse tea or coffee and something to nibble and it helps people to feel welcome and to mingle with others. So be prepared with some supplies and maybe even home baking to hand!

Be sure to keep an attendance record with contact details including Name, Address, Phone/Mobile and Email address. This information will allow you to keep in touch with people and provide short updates from time to time.


Form a Working Group

After the first meeting hopefully you’ll have realised that there is great demand for a shed in your community and a few people should have emerged that can help you out in getting started.

Tips

Your mentor can give you lots of tips & advice on setting up your steering group.

For the Shed to become established a core group of individuals will be needed to get through the early stages of development. Appointing a working group with clearly defined roles and responsibilities ensures that the workload is shared and that a common sense of purpose emerges over time. It is important that the members of the working group remain accountable to the Shed membership at all times.

You may wish to use a different title for the group like a Management or Leadership Committee, whichever you choose, the most important thing is that the purpose, roles and responsibilities are clear to everyone. Individuals could volunteer for these roles, could be nominated and seconded by other members or you could have an election with individuals having a 2 minute slot to explain what each can bring to the work and why anyone should vote for them.

See the sample Roles and Responsibilities of a leadership committee in Appendix 2.


Visit Other Sheds

Once you have a group involved you’ll want to figure what type of Shed will best respond to the members’ needs. A perfect way to do this is to visit a number of other Sheds. There are now over 200 sheds in Ireland so you should find one relatively closeby. Find your nearest one here.

Meeting people who have already travelled the road you are setting out on will be very informative and could help you to avoid some potential obstacles along the route.

Visit

Call your local shed to arrange a visit – let us know if you need help from us!

When you visit a shed what will you see?

You’ll see anything from a number of men restoring furniture for an old folks home or putting new life into disused bicycles for a local school, or maybe fixing lawn mowers. You might also see younger and older men learning new skills from each other as well as sharing life experiences. Sheds across the country have all sorts of different activities going on so be inspired, get some ideas and don’t be afraid to come up with your own ideas for what you want your shed to be!


Find a Suitable Premises

To ensure the sustainability of your shed, finding rent-free premises is critical. Most sheds across the country have managed to find one so don’t be afraid to start looking!

The most important asset to have when looking for ‘a rent free premises’ is patience. It is easy to find premises if you are willing to pay commercial levels of rent and the group of men may become disillusioned if suitable premises are not identified quickly. However, it’s good to remember that the project you are setting up may last for several years and a little patience and persistence in the early stages may bring immense rewards in the years to come.

Some Sheds have “caretaker agreements” with their landlords where the Men from the Shed look after the building or surrounding area instead of paying rent.

At this stage most of the Sheds in Ireland are in a low or no rent situation. Paying commercial rents for premises is unsustainable for a Men’s Shed unless they are in receipt of higher levels of funding support.

Give us a call if you have any questions on looking for premises – we’re here to help!

Insurance

Once you've found a premises, the next issue you'll need to consider is insurance. This might seem like a daunting and complex issue but don't worry the Irish Men's Sheds Association have worked hard to make this as simple and straightforward as possible for its members.

A special arrangement exists with BHP Insurances who have a dedicated team to deal with Men's Sheds. The premium for insuring your Men’s Shed depends on the number of your members and the Public Liability Limit of Indemnity required. You can see a full list of premiums below:

Mark Lee in BHP Insurances handles all Men's Shed queries and you can contact him directly on 1890 666 111 / 086 389 7749.

Sheds pay for insurance in different ways, many fundraise locally and the Irish Men's Sheds Association can give you some guidance on available grants.


Planning & Registering

Once you’ve found your premises and you have a small group of men ready to get started it makes sense for the group to think about the answers to these three questions:

  1. What are we trying to achieve here and for whom?
  2. Why do we wish to do this?
  3. How will be go about this work?

The answers to these questions will shape the running of your shed and inform your mission and vision statement. See some samples in Appendix 3.

Info

There is a suggested minimum voluntary donation of 25 euro paid to the Men's Sheds Assocation to accompany the yearly registration.

Registering with IMSA

There are over 260 Men’s Sheds on the Island and new Sheds are registering with IMSA at the rate of one every week. IMSA’s work includes hosting regular events that give the Shedders opportunities to network with each other and share ideas. Register to get started on ChangeX here and we'll guide you through the IMSA Registration process.


×