Hold a Public Meeting
This is a very important step as the more
community support you attract the easier the job
will be. A wide variety of enthusiastic supporters
can also provide a wide range of skills and
Often an initial "show of interest" meeting can
progress the idea and will motivate people to get
involved. By holding a public meeting you will not
only find potential members but organizations and
businesses who may want to support a Men's Shed
and its activities within the community. They may
be also able to supply information concerning the
needs of the local area and be interested in
partnering or sponsoring a Men's Shed within the
These supporters can also become potential
members for the Shed and may also donate
equipment and services. This is the ideal forum for
the project to really start to gain momentum after
having identified the potential needs of the
community. From this initial meeting it is also
possible to form a Steering Committee and get the
community involved at an early stage.
Planning the Meeting
Find a free venue to host the meeting - any community centre, clubhouse, library etc. will work
Identify a key person to facilitate/lead the meeting.
develop an Agenda for the meeting - you can find a suggested Agenda in the Appendix to this guide
Promoting & Inviting - place posters in shop windows and on community notice boards, contact your local newspaper as they will often provide a Public Notice at no charge, talk to as many people as possible- use word of mouth, discuss with Community Centres, Library staff and advertise within their facilities, contact the local radio stations, place notices in Doctor and Dental surgery waiting rooms as well as local
pharmacies, notify local Service Clubs such as
Lions, Rotary, discuss with and invite local Senior
Groups, discuss with local health service providers
such as the Community Nurse or Community
Health Centre. It is important to have input from as
many diverse organizations as possible!
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.
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!
This meeting is the ideal occasion to recruit your
first Interim Men's Shed Committee or Steering
1. Invite volunteers to establish a Steering
Committee to advance the project. This
may include volunteers with previous experience in
working with project committees, Accounting,
Secretarial and computer skills.
2. Try to meet again with the Steering Committee
as soon as possible to maintain the momentum.
3. Be sure to get the names and contact details of
all attendees for future reference-keep them
informed of any progress and ask for help if
4. Set a date for the next meeting- in these early
stages it is crucial to meet either formally or
informally again in the near future to maintain the
momentum and enthusiasm.
The newly formed working group or Steering
Committee will guide the Association through its
initial stages of establishment. By appointing a
Steering Committee you can share the workload
and work as a team with the same goals, moving in
the same direction and utilising individual
skills and experience. Define roles such as
Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Publicity.