Activity of Men in Sheds, Age UK
Aims and objectives
Men in Sheds is an approach to day services provision specifically designed to appeal to older men who, although they may be isolated and lonely, would be unlikely to make use of mainstream day services. Originally developed in Australia, it involves the provision of a workshop, tools and equipment where older men can make use of their skills and be involved in productive activity, while enjoying the benefits of working in a social group. It can also provide a route for older men to access information, advice, health promotion and other services which they might not otherwise seek out. In 2010 Age UK was awarded £279,000 by the Sir Jules Thorn Trust to develop, pilot and evaluate this approach in three locations over a two year period. Age UK is working in conjuction with three contrasting projects (in Greenwich, Nottinghamshire and South Lakeland) to explore how the model can work in different areas (e.g. rural and urban), with specific groups (e.g. BME Elders, older men with mental health problems) and involving different activities (e.g. repair/restoration, manufacture, hobbies). Success will be evaluated against the intended outcomes of success in engaging isolated and lonely older men and enhancing their wellbeing and quality of life. The hope is that models will be developed that can be sustainable and widely replicated. All three Sheds are now at the stage where they are looking at ways they can sustain their Sheds post funding. The members are taking an active role is looking at options that may achieve this.
Name: Men in Sheds, Age UK
Stakeholder: Civil society organisation
Area of intervention: Men and gender equality
Organisation Country: United Kingdom
Organisation Zip Code: WC1H 9NB
Organisation Phone: 020 303 31072 / 07985421806
- Age Concern Nottingham and Nottinghamshire: The project focuses on older men living in ex-coal mining areas of Nottinghamshire, where there are high levels of deprivation following the decimation of the colleries in recent years. It seeks to reach out to older men living in these areas, for whom social isolation is the result of the early loss of employment due to the reliance on the coal mining industry. The Shed is located in Blidworth, a former rural coalfield area of North Nottinghamshire. The surrounding area, from where the members will come from, is recognised as an area of significant deprivation. It is also considered rural, which can add to the social isolation experienced by some older men. The choice of the activities carried out in the Shed are at the discretion of the members. They undertake various activities, including the production of wooden items for the garden; the repair and restoration of second-hand furniture for sale at the Mansfield furniture store (part of Age Concern). They have experienced a greater sense of health and wellbeing, developed friendships and taken ownership of their Shed.
- Age UK South Lakeland: This project works with the most disadvantaged older men in the area, who are living with disabilities, are disadvantaged as a result of living in rural areas or are currently experiencing difficulties in their lives. It shares space with Age UK's furniture warehouse and so has developed to provide support to the warehouse with restoring furniture to increase its value to be sold. The Shed has been extremely successful. Members have experienced the same outcomes as Nottingham and Greenwich. They have become more confident and enjoy new friendships. South Lakeland is now introducing the intergenerational work. Younger people are now attending sessions at the Shed with the older men to learn about woodwork.
- Age Concern Greenwich: This project targets older men in the most deprived areas of Greenwich where health inequalities are significant, namely Eltham West, Woolwich Common, Thamesmead, Abbey Wood Woolwich, and Glyndon, where men die at least six years earlier than men in Eltham North. It engages with local older men in worthwhile activities within the local community, thus increasing their sense of self-worth and pride. The main activity within this project is the recycling of old wood pallets or other suitable second-hand materials into gardening containers. Some members also engage in the sale of the items at craft fairs. Men are now becoming volunteers of the project and supporting new members with becoming part of the Shed and the teaching of new skills. Due to the popularity of the project they are going to hold an open day to show off the Garden Shed the men have built for the community centre garden! The Shed is based in a room in this community centre allowing access to lunch clubs and other activities for the members.