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Discovering Men’s Sheds Conference

Published on 01 September 2011 10:00 AM

Discovering Men's Sheds Conference

Thursday, 29 September 2011 at the Ramada Leicester Hotel in Leicester

The Discovering Men's Sheds conference, taking place on 29 September at the Ramada Leicester Hotel in Leicester, will bring a range of professionals together to consider new ways to help tackle isolation experienced by older men. Isolation and loneliness in later life can be particularly difficult for men to overcome but Age UK's innovative Men in Sheds pilot project has been hugely successful in proving that bringing men together in an informal learning environment can have a real impact on the health and wellbeing of older men.

Men in Sheds provides older men with a workshop (shed), tools and equipment so they can use existing skills, learn new ones and get involved in productive activity, while enjoying the benefits of working in a social group. Discovering Men's Sheds: The Effect on Men's Health, Well-being and Informal Learning, organised by Age UK, NIACE, Men's Health Forum and Leicester University, will look at the achievements of Men in Sheds (funded by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust) and the challenges and successes faced by those setting up and running their Sheds. The conference will explore the importance of informal learning within men's health and well-being initiatives and workshops throughout the day will investigate the practicalities of sustaining a Shed and the role of informal learning in engaging men.

Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK, said: 'Keeping active by pursuing hobbies and interests, having contact with others and taking regular exercise all have positive effects on mental and physical ageing. This important conference will offer insights into how the innovative Men in Sheds scheme can help to tackle loneliness and isolation in local communities across the country.'

Carol Taylor, NIACE Director of Development and Research, said, 'Discovering Men's Sheds is not just about sheds, it is also about finding ways to encourage and engage men in informal adult learning activity. This is especially important as men get older and find themselves without the companionship and sense of belonging they get at work. We know that people who remain active - in both body and mind - as they get older, are more likely to remain healthy, have better mental health, be more robust at dealing with the difficulties that aging brings, be more likely to engage with others in their communities and just be more involved with life. The benefits of this to both the individual and the state are obvious. But most of all we want men, who are traditionally much underrepresented in informal adult learning activity, to discover the fun and sense of purpose that being part of a purposeful learning activity can bring.'

Age UK is developing, piloting and evaluating the project in Greenwich, Nottingham and South Lakeland over a two-year period from April 2010 to April 2012. The three contrasting Sheds have been funded to explore how the model can work in different areas (such as rural and urban), with specific groups (such as BME Elders and men in later life with mental health problems) and involve different activities (such as repair/restoration). There are further ground-breaking projects being run by other local Age UKs including Cheshire and Cheshire East.

The concept was originally developed in Australia where it is called Men's Sheds and Honorary Australian Men's Sheds Association Patron, Professor Barry Golding of the University of Ballarat in Australia will provide the keynote address at the conference.

For more information and to book your place at Discovering Men's Sheds visit the NIACE websiteopens link in new window.

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Ref: SM/HC/HH/MK For any media enquiries please call Sarah Scott at Age UK on 020 3033 1434 or email

Notes to editor

Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).


The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the leading non-government organisation for lifelong learning in England, and exists to encourage more and different adults to engage in better-quality learning of all kinds. It works for and celebrates the achievements of all adult learners.

Media contact: Sarah Scott
Tel: 020 3033 1434
Out-of-hours: 07071 243 243  


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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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