What are Men’s Sheds?
A Men’s Shed is not unlike a traditional Shed in its nature – a place full of tools and machines – but on a larger scale with room for many. It is essentially a safe space for men to come together and share conversation and tools whilst engaging in practical projects (most commonly wood craft). Sheds are places of skill sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction.
Why Men’s Sheds?
Because it’s been identified that men simply aren’t as well served when it comes to clubs, groups or other community initiatives when compared to women. The statistics surrounding men’s health present a worrying trend: 1 in 5 men die before the age of 65.
There are many factors involved- physical, mental, cultural and environmental- but the fact remains that men are far more vulnerable to becoming socially isolated and/or lonely than women.
Men’s Sheds are active places, full of tools and wood or metal working machinery. They require a certain level of mobility for men to get the most from them and not be a risk to their own- or others- health and safety. We recognised this but did not want to exclude men who could benefit from a Shed. So we thought about how to provide a ‘Shed-like’ space for men who could not safely be part of an existing Men’s Shed.
The concept of Shed Inside is simple- it provides a space for men to enjoy the same companionship and craft working without the machines or larger power tools. A Shed Inside can be held in any community space with only hand tools required for projects, so there is a minimum of noise, mess and risk of injury.
Who we are
The Essex Shed Network is a not-for-profit partnership between Maldon & District CVS and CVS Uttlesford and funded by National Lottery’s Community Fund. Our aim is to provide support to anyone in Essex wishing to set up a Men’s Shed or Shed Inside project, whilst also providing help to existing Sheds to ensure their sustainability.
We do this by sharing our knowledge and expertise which has been won through setting up several Sheds from nothing. We provide help with funding applications, governance, health and safety, drawing up a code of conduct and more. We arrange training as well as regular events which bring Shedders from across the county together, to share their knowledge and experiences with each other which ultimately strengthens the Network.