Described as workshop-type spaces containing tools and materials that men can use to make or fix things, to work on a variety of crafts, or just to tinker away, Men’s Sheds are public places for men to socialize "shoulder to shoulder" and improve their well-being.
As one man expressed it: "Somewhere to go. Something to do. Someone to talk to."
The Men’s Shed concept has already proven to be a success in many other communities. There are presently 27 Men’s Sheds in British Columbia and 2,800 worldwide.
Although all men and others who identify as men are welcome, Men’s Sheds are particularly meant to reach at-risk men who may not easily make connections in their community otherwise:
Most Men’s Shed members tend to be senior citizens.
Membership in a Men’s Shed is only for men and others who identify as men. Just as women’s groups and services exist because women often feel accepted when they are pre-approved on the basis of their gender, men (although they are perhaps less likely to express this) also may benefit from feeling a sense of belonging when they are exclusively surrounded by other men.
However, the Salt Spring Men’s Shed can function as a proof of concept for a women-specific community workshop. It hopes to encourage the start of one and would gladly support such an initiative by sharing its notes.
The Salt Spring Men’s Shed is intended to be inclusive of all population groups among men.
No distinction will be made based on:
In literature for health practitioners, Men’s Sheds are recognized for their positive and therapeutic aspects. They are included in the national health strategies of countries such as Australia and Ireland.
Participants benefit through:
Membership in a Men’s Shed can break down the social isolation and stigma that are associated with various health conditions. Men can discuss their concerns with other men; participate in health screenings; find information about illnesses, community resources, and support services in a rack of leaflets; or learn vital information from health promotion officers or educators. All health-related events at the Salt Spring Men’s Shed would be subject to the approval of the Vancouver Island Health Authority.
Areas of education and/or prevention include:
Typically, about 30% of Men’s Shed members are disabled.
As men participate in a Men’s Shed, they strengthen their social skills:
Men’s Sheds benefit the population at large. They become places where people outside the group can find a tremendous amount of expertise, along with a willingness to be of service to the community. Men’s Shed members like to be useful and accept building projects such as:
Men’s Sheds in other regions have also started Tool Libraries, delivered hospital beds, and repaired furniture.
Moreover, family members who are concerned about their husbands’, fathers’, and brothers’ quality of life can find respite as their relatives discover a daytime activity, comradeship, and support outside the home.
Finally, establishing a Men’s Shed on the island should reduce the demand for other senior-focused and institutional living services. Men’s Shed members become healthier overall and extend their ability to live independently.
Although woodworking is probably the foremost activity at a Men’s Shed, it is by no means the only one. Members also work on various other handicrafts, such as metalworking, jewelry-making, repairing electronics, candle-making, leatherwork, calligraphy, origami, paper crafts, or toy-making.
Arguably even more important than the creative space is a sitting area to accommodate members and visitors. There, they can engage in conversation, have a cup of coffee, or play a card game.
Periodically, the Salt Spring Men’s Shed may want to organize events. These may include:
Many events will be open to the entire public.
Naturally, the Men’s Shed will fully comply with the guidelines that are set out both by a landlord and by the Provincial Health Services Authority.
We have a council consisting of on-island (and off-island) advisors who offer feedback and focused expertise in their areas of specialty.
The Advisory Council is currently made up of:
Neither the founding team nor the Advisory Council members receive remuneration.
Continued success will depend upon strong and trusted partnerships. Thus far, the following parties have agreed to a partnership, or expressed their support, to ensure the success of a Salt Spring Men’s Shed:
The Salt Spring Men's Shed has received funding from the following organizations:
To create a barrier-free space, membership in the Salt Spring Men’s Shed is available free of charge.
The Salt Spring Men’s Shed expects to generate income in the following ways:
Income Resulting from Donations
The Salt Spring Men’s Shed will depend on donations from members and residents.
Income Resulting from the Sale of Donated Tools and Materials
Like other Men’s Sheds, we expect a partial source of funding to be from the sale of items that were donated by members, or by people in the community who may be downsizing or just cleaning house. We will offer to pick up these items and repair or refurbish them for resale.
Income Resulting from Selling Created Items and Rendering Services
A significant number of Men’s Shed projects will be done for the community. Some will create items that are intended to be sold, some will be on "contract", some will be done for cookies, and some will be entirely free and result in a spontaneous donation.
Examples include: constructing birdhouses, picnic tables, docks, greenhouses, sheds, furniture, and boardwalks; repairing or refurbishing household appliances; repairing and maintaining outboard motors; installing ramps and wheelchair lifts; and removing snow.
The Salt Spring Men’s Shed is affiliated with the Nanaimo Men's Resource Centre (charity 876952110 RR0001), and is registered as a society.
Source: Impact of Men's Shed on Social Participation and Health Outcomes,
Honors Thesis by Joshua Grimmer, Western Michigan University