Why men, and why in sheds?
Age UK Oldham’s Men in Sheds project is an initiative funded by the Local Authority. It aims to reduce isolation among men over 55 and improve their health and wellbeing.
A concept originally developed in Australia, Men in Sheds involves providing a workshop (shed), tools and equipment to men in later life. They can use existing skills, learn new ones and get involved in productive activity, while enjoying the benefits of working in a social group.
Men can get together in them to bang nails, shape wood, tinker with engines and put the world to rights over a cup of tea.
The project also provides an opportunity for men in later life to access information, advice and other services which they might not otherwise seek out.
According to research for Age UK, more than one million older men now live alone in the UK, and this number is only set to rise. Many of these older men have faced issues associated with significant changes in their lives including ageing, health, retirement, isolation, redundancy, unemployment, disability, bereavement, etc.
The ‘Men in Sheds’ project aims to provide friendship and a sense of belonging through positive and therapeutic informal activities and experiences with other men. They achieve positive health, happiness and well-being outcomes not only for the older men who participate but also their families, friends and communities.
It's a myth that men are not interested in their health or health services. However, they have to be presented in the right way as previously men have been difficult to engage through the more conventional methods. We have to find creative solutions to these problems. Just doing the old stuff isn't working. We have to go where men are or create activities that appeal to them. After active lives spent in work, most did not want to "sit around talking". Women talk to each other; men like to talk while immersing themselves in a task. That's the way they deal with emotional and practical issues. They are happier talking shoulder to shoulder, doing a job, than face to face. In that environment men will talk about all sorts of things. They know what a shed means and they feel comfortable in that setting.
The plan is to get men in one place to improve their wellbeing. We want them to be engaging in activities they enjoy to help them relax and to encourage them to come regularly. The kind of activities we hope to begin with are:
• Refurbish furniture
• Framing pictures / photographs
• Wooden toy making
• Making bird tables and window boxes
• Assembling hanging baskets/tubs etc
The Men in Sheds project aims to:
- Ensure older men are having fun and keeping well
- Give structure and purpose to participant’s daily routine
- Teach new skills
- Improve long term employment prospects
- Establish new friendships / renew past friendships
- Improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing
- Increase opportunities available to contribute and participate in the localcommunities
- Enable older men to access services and benefits which support independent living
- Provide access to ensure that older men claim and receive the financial benefits they are entitled to which will in turn improve their health / wellbeing
- Improve confidence and self worth and increase job satisfaction
- Provide respite for carers as appropriate
- Reduce social isolation and resultant poor health
How to Join
If you or someone you know would like to take part in our Men in Sheds project, you can contact Dave Freear, Project Co-ordinator, directly on the number below.
Referrals will be considered from men who are over the age of 55 and who have undergone life changing experiences such as redundancy, loss of a partner, early dementia, mental health problems, lack of confidence etc.