A primary objective of a men’s sheds is to enhance the wellbeing of men in the community.
When we refer to men’s health within a shed, we’re not referring to a medical model but a holistic model of health encompassing; physical, mental, social and spiritual health. The organic sense of enhanced wellbeing that occurs when a man joins a shed is a no mystery if we really look at what the shed provides for men. Sheds are a home from home for many men that offers social support, a sense of purpose and belonging. All of which have been shown to strengthen our immune systems and improve our health.
Men’s sheds in Ireland are changing the narrative around how men do health. The life expectancy gap between men and women in Ireland remains and men continue to be at a greater risk of certain diseases and conditions. However, an outdated view that men have no interest in their health could not be further from the truth. By the very virtue of joining a Men’s shed, men are taking notice of and playing an active part in maintaining good health and wellbeing.
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association supports sheds to further improve and maintain their wellbeing by offering sheds the opportunity to participate in male tailored programmes and activities within the supportive, informal environment of the shed through our dedicated men’s health programme Sheds for Life.
Sheds for Life
SFL is an innovate approach which responds to the increasing call for gender-specific health promotion programmes that target lifestyle and health behaviour change in men. Sheds for Life is supported by the HSE Healthy Ireland Framework and Healthy Ireland Men 2017 -2021 National Men’s Health Action Plan.
Sheds for Life will provide a positive, holistic approach to men’s health that targets aspects of physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing by building on the existing health enhancing supportive environment of a men’s shed.
This will be in line with the ethos of men’s sheds, a grassroots approach is applied, placing the men’s needs and views at the core of all associated health promotion activities.
All health-related programmes or activities run under the Sheds for Life umbrella will complement the existing activities or priorities of any shed involved. In line with the foundational ethos of men’s sheds, participation is strictly voluntary, and all programmes must respect the culture and essence of the shed; namely the autonomy and independence of the shed environment.
Guidance for Effective Engagement with Men’s Sheds
A guidance document has been put together with the intention of supporting health promoting organisations and professionals to respond and engage effectively with men’s sheds members through the IMSA’s dedicated men’s health initiative – Sheds for Life.
It can be used in a number of ways, including:
- To assist understanding and planning of what a men’s shed is and what the ethos is
- To review or redesign an existing health programme, activity, service or intervention
- As part of the design of new services, policies or programmes targeting men’s sheds