Men's Shed

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

5 Step Guide to

Men's Shed

Overview


Men's Shed "Welcome to Men's Sheds on ChangeX. Shed by Shed, we're building a global movement of spaces where men can come together to find meaning, purpose, friendship and belonging. Here you can learn more about Men's Sheds and learn how to start or join a Shed in your local community. I'm looking forward to helping you get started!" - Phil Johnson, US Men's Sheds Association

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist

Clock

Time

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


Get Started

Design a Plan for your Shed

There are many different types of "Men's Sheds" and your Shed will be uniquely designed for your local area. Some sheds have their own dedicated building, others share with another community organization or some even have "Mobile Sheds" to meet the needs of men living in remote areas.

But all Sheds do have things in common and upon registration with the International Men's Sheds Organizations, Sheds agree to maintain an open door policy, be non-discriminatory, have a minimal membership or joining fee, ensure and observe safe work practices, aim to improving the wellbeing or all men and to support their community.

A Men's Shed is a vital community investment delivering programs and activities that foster community spirit, connections and contributions to building a more inclusive community and Country. Before getting started, there are some important issues to be considered:

Assessing the local environment
  • What facilities are needed in the local area?
  • Are there adequate activities available for local men?
  • Discuss the idea with Local Government, community organizations, health services, service clubs and seniors groups.
  • Assess the level of support for the shed locally - there is no point in undertaking extensive planning and establishing a Men's Shed if there is no community support or benefit.
  • What does the local area currently offer that could be advantageous?
  • Are there opportunities to collaborate with other services?
  • Consider your demographics and the people in your area who may become members. Will the Shed reflect the needs of these members?
  • What potential partnerships could be forged with local organizations such as Local Government, community service clubs, sporting clubs, welfare and community services, health service providers?
  • Liaise with your Local Council, in particular the Community Development Officer (or equivalent)

Who is the Men' Shed for...

  • Is it for a group of like-minded individuals who want a Shed that is in response to their own personal needs?
  • Is it for a community group that would like to sponsor a Men's Shed in response to client need and to also enhance their existing services?
  • Is it for a community group that would like to sponsor a Men's Shed in response to community need?
  • Is it an already established group that would like to become involved with the broader national Shed network?
  • Is it the proprietors of a retirement village who would like to provide a new activity for the residents?
  • Is it within an aged care facility or is it a mix?
  • Based on how you've answered these questions you can begin to think of the aims and objectives of your Men's Shed. This will help when you begin to seek support locally.

    Venue

    Do you already have a location that would be ideally suited for a Men's Shed project? If not managed well, this step can be one of the hardest for Men's Sheds to get established. However, it is extremely important to put the men before the Shed. They need to invest and have ownership from the outset. It can be ineffective in having a Shed with no members – providing the Shed before community engagement may not sanction ownership for its members. The Men's Shed must always belong to the members involved and reflect their needs. Encourage the men and community to be involved in all stages of planning.

    However, having a potential Shed/facility is a great start. Many Men's Sheds have targeted the refurbishment of an existing facility as their first major Shed project- this will guarantee active participation, teamwork and a sense of ownership from the start.


    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 experiences.

    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 community.

    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 Committee:

    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 required.

    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.


    Find a suitable premises

    To ensure the sustainability of your shed, finding rent-free premises is critical. Most sheds across the Network 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.

    Things to consider when looking for a premises:

    • Is there public transport access? -some men choose to travel by bus for local travel when they retire.
    • Convenient car parking - cars are also used to transport tools, materials and finished goods so good access is critical.
    • Suitability for members with disabilities - wheelchair access and ramps will probably be required together with disability toilets.
    • Could neighbors be affected by the operation (e.g. noise and dust)?
    • The number of days that the Shed is open needs to be considered.
    • The types of projects that are planned and whether a number of activities will be occurring at the same time, could affect the choice of building.
    • Are the necessary and adequate services available (electricity, water and sanitation)?
    • Storage space is essential, both in the work area and outside. There is never too much storage for materials, finished goods and tools.
    • A major aspect of "Men's Sheds" is to promote socialisation and the layout of the building should include a "chat and eating" area.
    • Where to look?

      Is there an existing building that could be used?

      Sites that other Sheds have used:

      • Unused or under-utilised buildings on Church or Local Government sites sed Disused Scout Halls located on Council land.
      • Unused Fire or Ambulance Stations
      • Showgrounds or Sporting Grounds
      • Converted shipping containers.
      • A Mobile Shed that can travel to different locations.

      Who to ask?

      • Service Clubs e.g. Lions, Rotary
      • Community Groups
      • Community Organizations
      • Local Business community
      • Sporting Clubs
      • Showground Trusts

    Register with IMSO

    At this stage, you have a group of men, hopefully a premises and you're well on your way to getting started. Now is a good time to link in with the global network of Sheds around the World. Many countries now have national Shed Associations and for those who don't, the International Men's Shed Organization acts as the contact point and provides all the support, information and encouragement you need to make your Shed a Reality. John Evoy, who previously set up the Men's Sheds Association in Ireland manages the Internaitonal Men's Sheds Organization and he will be on hand to help and connect you with existing Shedders across the US.

    Once you've registered to Start your Shed on ChangeX, John will be in touch to arrange a time to speak and help you get started.


    Activate your Shed

    Starting to get active in the community can not only keep the momentum of your group going but can be invaluable in promoting the Men's Shed. You can use these activities to raise some beneficial funds and support. It is never too early to start getting active. It is important to involve all members in interesting activities while you are planning for your Men's Shed. If you do not have a physical Men's Shed this should not deter you from meeting and undertaking social and community activities as a Men's Shed Group.

    Shed Visits

    A great deal of valuable information can be gained by visiting as many Men's Sheds as possible. Members are usually very proud of their Shed- they will be welcomingand willing to offer help and advice. Shed visits are also great day out for the men!

    Fundraising

    Fundraising can be undertaken over the short and long term. Short term activities can be irregular, generate quick income and could include community BBQs, selling scrap metal, garage sales. Long term requires time, extensive planning and can generate better returns. This could include developing partnerships with local businesses and service clubs, major raffles to coincide with significant events such as Father's Day.

    Other Community Activities

    Speak with community organizations and make enquiries about potential work. Successful Men's Sheds have developed valuable partnerships with local organizations. Whilst your Men's Shed is being established, you can assist other community organizations with some of their projects? the local pre-school may need some play equipment or some raised garden beds? -the local Golf Club needs some seating benches on the course? - the local tennis courts or sporting fields may require Some refurbished seating?

    Grant Support

    Grants can be a valuable source of income for your Shed but applying for grants requires patience and perseverance. IMSO has a variety of resources that can assist you in your grant writing as you may need some funding for equipment, insurance or to undertake specific projects.


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