Better signposting makes for better informed and healthier Sheds

After our recent Essex Sheds Survey 2021 we found some interesting data suggesting that Shedders would like to be better informed about their health.

Having already run a one-off health information event in 2019, we wanted to establish something more long term that could be referred to by every Shedder within their Sheds on a daily basis.

The simplest solutions are often the best, so this led us to gather printed information from all the worthy organisations currently addressing Men’s Health issues locally and nationally, then put all that info in a POS type holder which could be installed in all Sheds.

We hope this will enable Shedders to discreetly learn more about the health issues they may face, whilst also giving them a clear point of contact if they would like more information or support.

CTC Shed receiving their ESN Health Info display

A Message to Essex Sheds

The following was emailed to all Essex Sheds today (21st December 2020):

‘Although the exemptions for Support Groups are remaining in place for Tier 4 areas, the current situation (covid cases increasing exponentially, the prevalent and allegedly more transmissable new strain of virus) has demanded that we must now change our position and advice to Sheds:

We strongly recommend that Sheds cease activities until at least the 30th of December when the Tier reviews will be announced.

For any Sheds who might be in an area under a lesser Tier, it would still be our recommendation to close over the Christmas period – the virus is spreading with no regard to what Tier your area falls under and the vaccination programme is playing catch up right now.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the last thing any of us wants, but that closing Sheds over the Christmas period is the right thing to do for each other, our communities and society at large. 

This year has been hard on the Shed movement, there’s no way of seeing past that fact. However we’ve seen that the support and camaraderie – the Shed Spirit – exists outside of the Sheds themselves and we can take strength and heart in that. 

So keep supporting each other in all the ways which work best for your Shed membership, and we’ll see our way through this and back inside Sheds very soon.
On behalf of the ESN team I’d like to wish you and your families a safe and happy Christmas.’

Statement from Essex Shed Network regarding Lockdown 2.0

The following statement went out to all Essex Sheds at the start of Lockdown 2.0 and we’re sharing it here to clarify our position:

“After careful review and discussion of the government literature we can advise Sheds the following:

  • Sheds meet the classification of ‘Support Group’ (maximum 15 attendees ) and as such can remain open with strict adherence to social distancing and use of PPE
  • Any meeting associated with Sheds but not conducted during Shed sessions, i.e. committee meetings, should be held online
  • Unless Shed members can use private transport (car or bicycle) or walk to Sheds, they should not attend sessions for the duration of lockdown
  • All precautions highlighted in your risk assessments should be doubled-down upon – the safety of members is paramount

Of course this is our advice but the ultimate decision on whether to remain open lies with your membership. We will support all Sheds in whatever decision they make and will make time available at the Forum meeting next Wednesday to answer any questions you might have.”

This statement does differ from the advice being given by the UKMSA. However it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that Sheds are a vital support group for men who might be at risk from loneliness or isolation. And now that we are all living through the most isolating of times, the impact on mental health needs to be considered on balance with the risks of Sheds remaining open (whilst the rules allow it) and following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols.

ESN at ShedFest 2020

The UKMSA presented their annual ShedFest event online for 2020 – no easy feat, but the team were equal to the challenge and filled three days (7th, 8th & 9th July) with interesting and engaging content for Shedders across the nation to enjoy.

Broadcast live via Youtube and Facebook the event featured discussion, interviews with Shed veterans and luminaries, as well as demonstrations from talented individuals such as the ‘Blind Woodturner’. ShedFest 2020 was an unmissable online event but if you did miss it, the whole thing is available to view on the UKMSA website.

We were delighted to be a part of the event – which featured guests from across the UK as well as internationally – Sarah Troop (ESN Project Manager and Director of Maldon & District CVS) contributed on the panel discussing how Sheds could re-engage with their communities post Lockdown. It was an interesting conversation and covered a lot of ground which would be of interest to any Shed negotiating the choppy waters of re-opening safely: Click here to view and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions arising from the discussion.

Thank you to UKMSA for bringing us ShedFest 2020 and we look forward to 2021, be it online or otherwise!

Coming out of Lockdown

As Lockdown restrictions ease it’s only right that we begin to look at the safest ways to re-open Sheds. And, with the guidelines under constant review in light of the shifting nature of the virus, this is no easy task.

A good place to start is checking the government guidelines thoroughly. Luckily for us all the UKMSA – as the national body for Men’s Sheds – are taking the lead on analysing and interpreting what the latest guidelines mean for Sheds:

The Essex Shed Network endorses this information as well as having released an abbreviated set of points for Sheds to Consider via email to all Essex Sheds.

The main point is really to go steady; we all want Sheds open again but rushing in carelessly and in ignorannce of recent events – even at just one Shed – will do harm to everyone in the movement.

We’ll be sharing all the latest information here and on our social media channels, so stay tuned all and we’ll all be back Shedding safely as soon as possible!

2019 in Pictures

We’re into the second month of 2020 already and, though there are plenty of exciting things happening this year, 2019 was a great year for the Essex Shed Network and our first year of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. Here are just some of our highlights by month from 2019-