A brief History of Mens' sheds around the world.
Men’s sheds or community sheds started as non-profit organisations that originated in Australia to advise and improve the overall health of all males. They normally operate on a local level in the community, promoting social interaction, personal creativity and innovation and community building, both within and outside the shed, in a DIY/practical workshop environment. The general objective is to increase the quality of life of its members.
There are “Sheds” all over the world now, with thousands of active members. Men’s sheds can also be found in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, United States, Canada, Finland, Greece and of course New Zealand.
In 2014, Prof Barry Golding coined the term "shedagogy" to describe "a distinctive, new way of acknowledging, describing and addressing the way some men prefer to learn informally in shed-like spaces mainly with other men. Sheds are becoming a valuable venue for mentoring other men and Inter-generational mentoring is a growing outcome.
Men’s sheds originated from the shed in a backyard scenario, where a man would go and carry out tasks, such as restoring furniture or fixing lawn mowers. The first men’s shed (by that name) was opened in Tongala, Victoria, Australia on July 26, 1998. Named after its founder, Dick McGowan, Lane Cove Community Shed was opened in December 1998, and was founded for "shedless" men, encouraging social activities and friendships, while providing vital health information to its members.
Since the emergence of men’s sheds in Australia in1996 the number of sheds has grown year on year. The main aims of men’s sheds have also become much more varied since their foundation. Men’s sheds are also active in a number of other countries, mainly based throughout Europe and South Asia. This includes over one hundred men’s sheds in New Zealand and over two hundred in Ireland. The United States has set up a national association, the US Men's Sheds Association, and has 3 Sheds in Hawaii, Minnesota and Michigan, as of May, 2017.
An old railway goods shed, now the Grenfell Men's Shed, typifies the tradition of re-commissioning old work spaces.
Different types of sheds are evolving. Every men's shed will have its own unique aims and focus on certain subjects. Men's sheds can be defined into five main categories. These categories are; work, clinical, educational, recreational and communal.
Work sheds are for those who want to remain active and have an overall goal. These sheds focus heavily on restoration and construction, while helping the local community. Clinical and Communal have similar features, with the core of their aims focused on helping the local male community interact and discuss their health and wellbeing. Educational sheds are aimed at improving skills and qualities.
Virtual sheds provide an online capability where members from all men's sheds and other remote communities across the country or around world can actively communicate and be involved in numerous research, writing and photographic activities.
Many sheds may have some or all of the above functions and objectives. Self-determination and control by the members appears to be the deciding factor –
We are who We want to Be !