Men's Sheds in Scotland

Kate Samuels, GWT’s Policy and Communications Assistant recently met with Charlie Miller to find out more about the movement of Men’s Sheds in Scotland.

Kate – “How did you get involved with men’s sheds?”

Charlie – “I was recuperating from illness and was looking for men’s support groups. To be honest there was not a lot out there so I tried to set up a men’s association in East Kilbride. This didn’t work out, however I did learn about Men’s Sheds which I thought was an interesting idea so I followed it up with a little bit more research. I then connected into UK Men’s Sheds Association and it went from there.

Kate – “How long ago was this?”

Charlie – “I have been involved with Men’s Sheds since 2013. I am currently the secretary of Glasgow Association of Men’s Sheds.”

Kate – “What is the purpose of Men’s Sheds?”

Charlie – “Men’s Sheds have been around for a really long time, since 1980s. Their purpose is to bring people together regardless of age or background. They are open to men over 18 years old and the shed is a space for them to do anything they want to (woodworking, projects or just chat). It gives participants a space for themselves, a break and a space to socialise with others.”

Kate – “Why is Men’s Sheds different from other projects?”

Charlie – “Men’s Sheds are intergenerational. Men’s Sheds have no pressure – participants come and work at their own pace. They are often based in local communities with limited resources. Unlike many other projects there is not a set time – say Tuesday or Thursdays, therefore participants can come and work at any time including evenings or weekends if they wish.”

Kate –“How much does it cost to join Men’s Shed?”

Charlie – “As an individual it is free. People can find their local men’s shed by going on to the website of “find a shed”: We have also had interest from businesses and sponsorship. For example in Glasgow City of Glasgow College are involved and some of the students come to the shed. Glasgow City Building are also involved and this brings men of ages 18-75 to the local sheds.”

Kate –“At the moment, how many Glasgow Men’s Sheds are there?”

Charlie – “These grow all the time, so best to check the website for up to date information, however i do know of Milngavie, Govan, Gorbals, Shettleston, Clydebank and Springburn. Maryhill are also trying to start one.”

Kate –“What about women’s sheds? We have heard of some men’s sheds sharing spaces?”

Charlie – “Yes, there are a few in Scotland, one being in Bellshill, Lanarkshire for example. Many men’s sheds are open to the idea and it is likely that there will be more women’s sheds in the future.”

Kate –“What has been the impact of Men’s Sheds and do you have any stories you would like to share?”

Charlie – “The project has a beneficial impact on men’s wellbeing. Men can be signposted to other services as and when required. It encourages the participants to be social and to learn new things. In terms of what I have seen, the impact men’s sheds have had on carers who would otherwise not get out too much has been extraordinary.”

Kate –“Anything else that you would like to mention?”

Charlie – “Currently Glasgow Men’s Sheds are being researched by Glasgow Caledonian University.

For your nearest Men’s Shed please see find a shed.