Where and when did it all begin ?
The concept of the Men’s Shed movement originated in Australia in the 1990’s, where a number of issues were raised about the physical and mental health of elderly and usually retired men. it was found that men retiring from work slipped into a pattern of lack of exercise, heavy drinking and lack of self esteem. Such a void can also occur when, for example, a loved one is lost.
A conference in 1995 proposed the concept of the Men’s Shed to promote social interaction and reduce depression. The first actual Men’s Shed was setup in Tongala, Australia on July 26, 1998.
Since that date, the number of Men’s Sheds has increased massively to the point where there are now over 1000 sheds in Australia.
For places in Australia which have a Men’s Shed, there have been noticeable benefits to the physical and mental health of the elderly men of the area and a reduced call on medical resources needed to remedy the effects of loneliness and isolation
When did Men’s Sheds come to the UK?
The concept spread to Ireland in the early 2000’s and then to the UK where the first Shed was setup in Westhill, Scotland in 2005.
At the time of writing (July 2016) there are now over 300 Sheds in the UK with new ones opening at the rate of two a week.
In our local area, there are very successful sheds in Havant, Gosport, Eastleigh and Southampton but none in Romsey (a deficiency which we are determined to fix).
What’s going on in Romsey?
The Romsey Men’s Shed group was formed by Graham Gowman in October 2015. The group grew initially to a Committee of four and then following an open meeting in March 2016, another 10-12 members joined the group. The Committee initially looked for a ready-made building that could be adopted for the Men’s Shed but eventually decided that such a building was not available within walking distance of Romsey Town and therefore the only option was to build one ourselves. Luckily, the Romsey School offered us both a weekly meeting place and a site on which we could erect a shed. We are now in the process of applying for planning permission for the site after which we will embark upon a fundraising effort which hopefully should get us a real working shed by Summer 2017.