“Men don’t talk face to face; they talk shoulder to shoulder” (Golding 2007)
Who we are:
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was set up in January 2011 with the purpose of supporting the development and sustainability of Men’s Sheds on the Island of Ireland. We are a charity with CHY number 19928 and Charity Reg. Number 20078591.
The Irish Men’s Shed Association (IMSA) is a member-based organisation formed to share information freely between Sheds and support communities and organisations wishing to establish a Shed.
The IMSA as a national organisation represents the collective issues of Men’s Sheds in Ireland.
The Irish Men’s Shed Association will work towards a future where all men have the opportunity to improve and maintain their health and well-being by participating in a community Men’s Shed.
We are a grassroots organisation and we base our actions directly as a response to the needs, as expressed by the Men of the Sheds, so that we can make it is as easy as possible for any group of men to set up and run a Men’s Shed.
Participating in a Men’s Shed does not affect Social Welfare entitlements – however participants in receipt of Jobseeker’s payments are expected to continue to fulfill their commitment to engage with the Department of Social Protection’s INTREO service.
At a national consultation with the Shedders of our Association, which took place at Dundalk Men’s Shed in February 2012, we created a set of values which we adopted and which we endeavour to embody in all our work:
1) Honesty and Openness:
Everything we do is transparent and accountable to the Shedders and to the public.
2) Equality and Inclusion:
Our work creates places of belonging, participatory democracy, mutual respect, companionship and community for all Shedders.
We demonstrate and promote leadership in everything we do.
So what is so special about this new type of Shed?
Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions. There has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression.
Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Community Men’s Shed gives a man that safe and busy environment where he can find many of these things in an atmosphere of friendship. And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just come and have a chat and a cuppa if that is all they’re looking for.
Members of Men’s Sheds can come from all walks of life – the bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and they would like something meaningful to do with that time.
Because men don’t often make a fuss about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the mat by both our health system and our modern society. It’s time for a change and the Men’s Shed movement is a powerful tool in helping men to once again become valued and valuable memers of our community.
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) was set up to act as a resource for Men’s Sheds in Ireland and to promote the idea of Independent Community Men’s Sheds. The association aims to represent and promote the Shed movement, and to act as a communications hub with this website being a key mechanism.
A shorter description of Men’s Shed could be:
A Men’s Shed is any community-based, non-commercial organisation which is open to all men where the primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where the men are able to gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well- being of the participating men. Men’s sheds may look like a shed in you back yard yet they innovatively share some characteristics of both community education and health promotion projects.
1. We believe strongly in the dignity, uniqueness and equality of every human being.
2. We wish to promote the development of men in a society where many men fail to reach their potential.
3. The Irish Men’s Shed Association will work towards a future where all men have the opportunity to improve and maintain their health and well- being by participating in a community Men’s Shed.
4. We are impressed with the vision and work of the Australian Men’s Sheds Association. We want to learn from them and adapt their vision and methods to our Irish situation.
5. We believe each group of men should be encouraged and supported to realise their own potential and to take responsibility and ownership for their own project and its possibilities. As far as possible each group should retain its own autonomy.
6. We see the passing on of skills, traditional and new as a key aspect of the work. Each man should see himself as teacher and a learner in their group. Different men will possess varying degrees of skills professional and practical which will encourage the community learning possibilities. Each man will bring his own particular individuality, skills and limitations to the group and should be fully respected and acknowledged. There should be a clear anti – bullying policy.
7. There will be an emphasis on informal learning. An atmosphere of ‘doing stuff together’, having fun, creating a buzz should prevail.
8. We see groups emerging in urban and rural settings. We are very conscious of respecting the place a particular group of men come from, its uniqueness and possibilities.
9. We are not affiliated to any political or religious grouping, and are non – profit.
To support the development and sustainability of Men’s Sheds.
1. Acting as an information hub for the Men’s Sheds Movement in Ireland.
2. Maintaining a website with an interactive element.
3. Hosting regular events to promote and model our vision.
4. Supporting initiatives for men that match our aims and objectives.
Our motto is “Men don’t talk face to face; they talk shoulder to shoulder” was first said by Professor Barry Golding of the University of Ballarat, Victoria and Patron of the Australian Men’s Sheds Association in 2007. It is often this simple insight that resonates most with people when they first hear about Men’s Sheds and are wondering why Men’s Sheds work.