Reclaim, reuse and restore men

A while ago my brother told me he was helping to launch a Men’s Shed in Innisfail, Australia. I’d not heard of ‘Men’s Shed’ but it certainly sounded like a good idea. Then I discovered the website for the UK Men's Sheds Association: www.menssheds.org.uk, where you can read all about how it started. There are more than 1,000 Sheds in Australia and nearly 150 Men’s Sheds running or being launched across the UK.

'Fixing, making and re-using materials has given me the motivation to improve my rented home. It improved my mental state and it gave me hope.'

A Men's Shed is a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests. A Men's Shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men come together to work.

A Shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (carpentry, joinery, turning, carving, whittling, marquetry, furniture renovation) and may include activities as varied as bike repair, gardening, vehicle repair, tool renovation, upholstery, boat renovation, model engineering, milling, turning in plastics, etc. Reclamation, reuse and restoration will feature strongly – and some say that is true of the men too! Although Sheds mostly attract older men, some have included men of any age, women and young people. Whichever activities are pursued the essence of a Shed is not a building, which some don’t have, but the network of relationships between the members.

Ripples Community Magazine would like to support a Men’s Shed or two for men in Cricklade, South Cerney, Fairford, Lechlade and surrounding villages. If you’d like to start it, we’ll back you with free reports and advertising. Get in touch if you’re interested.

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Adrian Young:

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Graham Fry:

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