Men in Sheds

Men in Sheds

Sarah Brealey reports on a pioneering project that helps men use their skills and is helping to beat loneliness.

A concept that started in Australia, Men in Sheds aims to help men spend time together, share skills or learn something new.

It was introduced in several areas of England by Age UK. There are now around 150 local Men in Sheds projects running or being set up around the UK.

Most of the projects are run independently, such as Collingham & District Men in Sheds. It started as a workshop with a kitchen and social space and is now expanding into a third area for computers and quieter activities.

Men in Sheds helps us all by keeping us fully occupied and using our skills

Chairman John Leigh, 68, had heart valve surgery two years ago. He’s realised how common feelings of fear, anxiety and low mood are following a heart event. He says: “I think men are generally less good at discussing their feelings and seeking help. We don’t like to admit to anything being wrong. And if you have a condition that frightens you, like a heart condition, you can easily think, ‘I daren’t go out of the house’.”

The shed offers a combination of practical activities and friendship. John says: “We’ve really seen the difference it can make. Steve, who’s 83, lost his wife in January. He said he was sitting at home alone and felt he didn’t have a purpose. Now he brings his squeezebox along and plays it, and he’s going to teach landscape painting for us.

“[Men in Sheds] helps us all by keeping us fully occupied and using our skills. If I am a bit down in my mood when I go there, it never lasts.”

Shed Men, The story of the Gosport Shed from Utility Films on Vimeo.

Read Hilary's touching story of how she coped with loneliness

Read our 6 ways to beat loneliness

Read how volunteering can help you beat loneliness 

Related publications

More useful information