Men’s Shed….no, not a man cave. Let me explain.
A Men’s Shed is a non-profit organization that originated in Australia, to advise and improve the overall health of males. It is meant to be an updated version of the shed in the backyard where men can get together to work on anything from crafts to woodworking to repairing bicycles.
A Men’s Shed is open to all men where the primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where men are able to gather and work on meaningful projects. This happens at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men. New members are always welcome and can be assured that there is something of interest to everyone as the men have ownership of their Shed and make decisions about their projects. It is peer led, and informal.
There are over 750 men’s sheds in Australia and 200 in Ireland. There are numerous community and individual success stories from these sheds. Many individuals report that, prior to joining a shed, they were feeling isolated in their rural communities and lacking any meaningful activity. Walk into any men’s shed and you may find some woodworking going on, flies being tied, or engines being repaired. An occasional card game may break out.
Doug Mackie founded Mensheds Manitoba in 2011. It is operated out of a community club and meets Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Men’s Shed movement has been growing across the country and Doug has been invited to speak to communities throughout Canada who are also interested in creating their own shed, including Coquitlam, Pemberton, Hope and the Okanogan. Doug has now been working with the University of Manitoba on developing a Canadian network of men’s sheds.
The Mills Community Support and Lanark County Mental Health are bringing Doug to Lanark County. He will be speaking at Almonte Town Hall on Thursday November 5th from 7-9pm. It is a free event and everyone is welcome.