For years Men’s Sheds have been seen as a place where retired men come to pick up the tools and make some nifty things, but Men’s Sheds have so much more to offer than that.
Men’s Sheds play an important role in the wellbeing of men across Western Australia, particularly for those in more isolated communities. They are designed to provide a place that offers new friendships and a variety of knowledge and experiences, where men can come together and feel comfortable about talking about whatever they’re interested in.
At Lifeline WA, we know that isolation and loneliness can significantly contribute to poor mental health. A sense of belonging and having companionship can help people to overcome their struggles. Men’s Sheds can provide the opportunity to connect with others.
“The spirit of men’s sheds is not about the physical shed, but the relationships between members.”James Wild, Men’s Shed WA CEO
Life inside the shed
Inside the sheds you’ll find members working with wood, carpentry, furniture repairs and anything else they might want to try their hand at. In some sheds you’ll find art classes, singing groups, bike and vehicle repairs. Each shed is reflective of its members and its community.
While the projects at every shed may vary, their purpose stays the same. When you join a Men’s Shed you can develop new friendships and networks to share skills and experiences with each other.
Through the activities and projects that you participate in helps keep your mind active, maintain strength and coordination, and your overall emotional wellbeing from a sense of belonging and giving back to your community.
“The health benefits to members include improved mental wellbeing, increased physical activity, mateship and sense of purpose.” – James Wild, Men’s Shed WA CEO
You also don’t need to have a hankering to undertake projects to join a shed. Many sheds around Australia have members who are more interested in participating in a general sense rather than learning a new skill.
Contributing to the community
Members from almost every shed find themselves giving back to the community when they become involved in projects and events through local councils and other community groups.
Men’s Sheds donate their time, skills and tools to community projects like repairing park benches and playground equipment, helping to conserve the nature in their local area, or even building computers for people who can’t afford to buy one.
Many businesses and people donate their supplies (such as tools, wood and paint that would end up in landfill) to sheds where they get put to good use with repurposing, recycling or repairing them for projects.
Men’s Sheds also offer the opportunity for community members to get help with small jobs or repairs for the cost of a donation or a cake for the shed’s morning tea.
Who can join?
All men! Members come from all parts of the community. Whether you have a disability, are a stay at home dad, a full-time worker, a retiree, every member has one thing in common – life experiences to share with each other.
Men’s Sheds are places where belonging matters and you are welcome to join.
If you’re a young person, don’t let the word ‘retirement’ turn you off. While traditionally members were retirees, in recent years men of all ages have been joining their local Men’s Shed to learn new skills and get involved in their community.
I want to join, but how?
It’s easy to get involved, simply click here to find your local Men’s Shed and enquire to become a member.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs support, please call 13 11 14, available 24/7.
Image Credit: Men’s Sheds WA