The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (www.menssheds.ie) was founded as recently as 2011. In less than a decade, Men’s Sheds have become, in their understated way, something of an institution in Irish society.
In towns, villages and cities the length and breadth of the island, from Donegal to Kerry, Men’s Sheds are a familiar presence in their communities. As well as their undoubted and life-changing effect on their members, men’s sheds have become quietly indispensable to their neighbourhoods.
In addition to offering an outlet and a lifeline to men at risk of social isolation, Men’s Sheds members are frequently to be seen participating in local parades, stewarding local events, donating Buddy Benches to local schools, taking to the stage for choir performances, as well as a myriad of other significant engagements in their local areas.
Men’s Sheds have become a beacon of hope and inspiration for all those who believe that community cohesion remains a vital component of a functioning society, particularly in rural areas.
On the individual level, Men’s Sheds are known to have a profoundly positive impact on a member’s wellbeing, with over 90% of members agreeing that belonging to a shed had improved their sense of wellbeing.
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association seeks to capitalise on this fact through its Sheds for Life initiatives, an ambitious slate of health and wellbeing programmes, partnerships and events, undertaken in conjunction with the HSE and dozens of national health organisations.
Sheds for Life activities include local diabetes management and physical activity programmes, the provision of health-checks and advice clinics at shed events, as well as frequent talks by health experts on topics as diverse as depression and cancer awareness.
In 2018, the Department of Rural & Community Development provided a ring-fenced €500,000 Men’s Shed Fund for sheds throughout Ireland.
Members of Terenure Men’s Shed