Men and their Sheds!

Almost every British man that moves into a house – irrespective of age – wants, no, NEEDS, a humble garden shed out the back if he’s to be happy in his new home. It usually starts off as a storage shelter for kids bikes, gardening tools, and all that hoarded rubbish that no one will ever use again but considered far too good to chuck out!

Man in his shedAs time passes by, this wooden room becomes just a dumping ground for family bric-a-brac. That is until a man gets to a certain age.

By the time he reaches his middle years, this junk-hut gets completely gutted and reorganized as it’s transformed into his home-away-from-home, or male sanctuary if you like. It’s no longer the family shed any more, and in many cases, the wife and kids are forbidden to enter it without his permission. So what’s it all about – really?

When a Shed becomes s Haven

Well, perhaps middle-aged men get to the point where they need somewhere to escape the monotony of their own living rooms, TV addicted wives, and needy kids – if there are any. Wanting to retreat from the family once in a while is actually quite healthy and can only help – not hurt – relationships among the kinfolk.



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Is the Garden Shed really Good for his Health?

Research suggests that well organized sheds have a number of physical and mental health advantages for men. This is according to professor Alan White, who’s the world’s first Professor of Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University. These health benefits include:

  • Stress relief and relaxation (essential to physical and emotional wellbeing)
  • Increased longevity (men with sheds live longer due to the above)
  • Achievement and satisfaction (working and completing projects undisturbed)
  • Pottering in sheds helps him to keep fit, lowers blood pressure and boosts self-esteem

A Word of Warning! It’s not all Harmony in the Hut!

Couple arguingLet’s not be under any illusion here though. Not all sheds in the garden bring harmony to the home. Many men become so attached to their wooden shacks that it can, and does, cause friction at times.

“You think more of that bloody shed than you do of me”, the partner may holler. “You certainly spend more time in it than in here with your own family”, is another common complaint from her indoors.

There will be times where she is absolutely right too. If there’s one thing we men become good at it’s obsessing, whether it’s angling, sports, DIY, or whatever else it happens to be.

But when compromise can be met from both sides, it’s a win-win situation. He becomes a more relaxed man, she likes him because of it, and the few hours they spend apart each week while our man potters in his outbuilding, sees them enjoying their times together more than if they were living in each other’s pockets day in day out.

Don’t have a Shed? Help is at Hand

Health experts are so convinced of the benefits of these wooden outhouses that ‘Men’s Shed Groups‘ have sprung up at various locations around the UK. They’re kind of clubs where men meet up, share a bit of banter, and get on with some DIY in a large communal shed. At the time of writing there are 20 such groups up and down Britain with more set to follow soon.

It’s not all hammers and nails over at these shed groups though, but it can be if that’s what a man wants. The main objective is about men making things. That could be as simple as new friendships, a pot of tea, a fitted kitchen, or any manner of varied and interesting skills. In other words, these are places where diverse groups of middle-aged guys – and older – get to meet with their fellows and chew the fat on whatever takes the mood. Bit like a men’s den really!

Blame it on the Aussies!

The concept of shed schemes came from the land of kangaroos, Australia. It began with what is now known as The Australian Mens Shed Association. It’s slogan is “Where Men Work at Play“, although work at what exactly or play with who, is not so obvious 😉 But joking aside, anything that brings folks together for the common good, can only be a worthy cause.

Australian Mens Shed Association Community

Knowing the Aussie male though, they’ve probably got armchairs, refrigerators, air conditioning units, laptops, and flat screen TVs, all fully operational and wired-up in their manly hideouts. Why? Well, according to a survey of 3,000 Australian women back in 2009, your average Bruce down under is not exactly known for his DIY skills, gardening, or much at all outside BBQs, downing tinnies, and catching cane toads after dark.

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The Final Word on the The Men’s Shed Movement

Whoever the man, and whatever his reasons for loving his shed, we say leave him be. Although this phenomenon might annoy the family, should he spend a little too much time in the sanctuary of his wooden hut, things really could be a lot, lot worse.

He could be down the pub getting drunk every night, or fishing on the river banks at every given opportunity. Or worse still, he could be loafing around indoors doing nothing, going nowhere, and grinding on the nerves of his partner – if he has one!

Friend of 50ish.org, Neil F from Old Geezer Radio, has recently interviewed Men in Sheds for a podcast special. Their exclusive report comes from Ellesmere Port where the project provides an oasis of calm, fun filled banter, and positive health benefits for all its members.

Listen here:
Men in Sheds Special Report

Another real-world social networking concept (with a difference), is called StreetBank. This is a website where people get to help and meet others in their immediate neighbourhoods, off line as much as they do online. You can read more about Street Bank in our forum.

Food for thought:  One of the reasons why women live longer than men is because they stay sociable and continue interacting with friends and family well into old age, whereas men tend to isolate more as they grow older. This is yet another great reason to join a shed group.

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    Bint says:

    Tks 4 shedding some light on these latent groups :)


    Norman says:

    I think these shed groups need to do more to get the word out? I live in the UK and have never heard about them until now. Can’t wait to see what’s out my way. Thank you for highlighting these clubs. Norman.


      Andy Aitch says:

      I’d not heard of them until recently either Norman, but then I have been out in South East Asia for the past few years. I think we’ll all know about Men in Sheds in the very near future though, such is the growing demand for these clubs nationwide 😉

      Andy


    Bill Ray says:

    Men’s Sheds are really good, gives me something to do each day.


      Andy Aitch says:

      Glad to hear it Bill. I’m always looking for new material to write about for the site, and stumbled across the ‘Men in Sheds’ concept quite by accident. I think it’s fantastic, and can see it does a lot of good.

      Good luck with it all, and if you or any of your members would like to write an article for the site you can contact me here.

      You can also go and talk about what you get up to in your particular group in our forums if you like. We’d love to hear from you guys if you have time 😉

      Anyway, thanks once again for your comments Bill.

      Andy Aitch (Webmaster)



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