Menzshed Chairman, Trevor Scott, explains the difference a men’s shed can make in the life of a ‘sheddie.’
Just what is a men’s shed? The answer to this is as long as a piece of string. Putting it in a nutshell, it is a shed bringing men together within the community to share their skills, learn new skills and have a laugh while working on practical projects both of a personal nature or a community project.
There are currently 120 sheds around the country, which more in the works. Each shed is different as it serves their community, but mainly they are woodwork and engineering shops where all manner of projects can be carried out. Examples include play equipment for their local playcentre to repairing toys for the local toy library, refurbishing bikes and presenting them to a new owner.
You don’t have to have any practical skills to be a ‘sheddie’: all you need is a willingness to help with projects and the skills will develop as you become involved. We see cabinet makers helping engineers and vice versa as much as we see these experienced men sharing their knowledge with those wanting to gain skills. You can learn so much about one another while working side by side. If this is something you are really not interested in, just go down for a cuppa and a chat.
One of the most important activities of the shed is the time spent having a chat while having a cuppa. It’s about sharing stories, telling jokes, and developing friendships. Breaking down social isolation is all part of what makes a shed success.
Here is feedback from some of our attendees:
“It gives me a purpose in life.”
“It is one of the main activities I do weekly and sometimes a number of days a week.”
“I have gained a number of friends that I would not have met if it had not been for being a member of the shed.”
“I did not have any practical skills as I was an accountant but that did not stop me from learning new skills.”
“My wife said, ‘go find something to do now you are retired’. I found the men’s shed was just the thing. Now she is saying ‘let’s do something together.’ You can’t win.”
“I was depressed, and the men of the shed helped me get through a tough patch.”
Improving the health and wellbeing of men is one of the main reasons the sheds were established. From time to time, they invite health professionals down to the shed to discuss health issues that affect the older man. This is all part of what a men’s shed is about.
Come check out your local shed and be part of the ‘sheddie experience.’ For further information on where to find your nearest Menzshed, visit their web site: www.menzshed.org.nz