Like all people, men like to continue to be productive and contribute to those around them once in retirement age. A men’s shed provides a place for men to talk and contribute, where practical skills and knowledge can be shared.
All sheds are different, some like to do woodwork, whereas others can be more outgoing and like to contribute their time to helping the local community. Whatever your shed does, the shed experience will improve your wellbeing by keeping physically, mentally and socially active.
There are five steps to setting a men’s sheds:
STEP 1 : Hold an information evening
To test the level of interest among local men in setting up a shed, organising an information meeting is a great way to start. You can do this by talking to a few friends or local people you know will be interested in helping to get you started. Once they’re onboard, you can start organising an information meeting. There are a few things to consider:
- Location – Where will you hold the meeting?
- Agenda – What will you talk about? The structure is important here.
- Invitations and advertising – How will you let people know about the meeting? Flyers, social media post are some ideas to think about.
- Running the meeting – Bill the meeting as ‘would you be interested in setting up and/or being part of a men’s shed? Don’t commit until you know there’s clear and tangible interest.
STEP 2 : Form a working group
Once you have a group involved you’ll want to figure what type of Shed will best respond to
the members’ needs. A perfect way to do this is to visit a number of other Sheds. There are now over 400 registered sheds in Ireland so you should find one relatively close by.
Meeting people who have already travelled the road you are setting out on will be very informative and could help you to avoid some potential obstacles along the route. When you visit a shed what will you see? You’ll see anything from a number of men restoring furniture for an old folks home or putting new life into disused bicycles for a local school, or maybe fixing lawn mowers. You might also see younger and older men learning new skills from each other as well as sharing life experiences. Sheds across the country have all sorts of different activities going on so be inspired, get some ideas and don’t be afraid to come up with your own ideas for what you want your shed to be!
STEP 3 : Find a suitable premises
To ensure the sustainability of your shed, finding rent-free premises is critical. Most sheds across the country have managed to find one so don’t be afraid to start looking! The most important asset to have when looking for ‘a rent free premises’ is patience. It is easy to
find premises if you are willing to pay commercial levels of rent and the group of men may become disillusioned if suitable premises are not identified quickly. However, it’s good to remember that the project you are setting up may last for several years and a little patience and persistence in the early stages may bring immense rewards in the years to come. Some Sheds have “caretaker agreements” with their landlords where the Men from the Shed look after the building or surrounding area instead of paying rent. At this stage most of the Sheds in Ireland are in a low or no rent situation. Paying commercial rents for premises is unsustainable for a Men’s Shed unless they are in receipt of higher levels of funding support.
Give us a call if you have any questions on looking for premises – we’re here to help!
STEP 4 : Insurance
Once you’ve found a premises, the next issue you’ll need to consider is insurance. This might seem like a daunting and complex issue but don’t worry the Irish Men’s Sheds Association have worked hard to make this as simple and straightforward as possible for its members. FBD insurance, who are familiar with requirements of Irish Men’s Sheds are offering insurance, contact your nearest office for more information. The premium for insuring your Men’s Shed depends on the number of your members, the Public Liability Limit of Indemnity required and if there is equipment being used in the shed. For more information on this Insurance for sheds, please contact us in the office at 01 8916150.
For our Sheds in Northern Ireland, Amanda McConkey ACII, Chartered Insurance Broker, Todd Insurance Broker are offering insurance
T: 0044 (0)28 95622633 | T: 0044 (0)7795175396
STEP 5 : Planning and Registering
Once you’ve found your premises and you have a small group of men ready to get started it makes sense for the group to think about the answers to these three questions:
- What are we trying to achieve here and for whom?
- Why do we wish to do this?
- How will be go about this work?
The answers to these questions will shape the running of your shed and inform your mission and vision statement. IMSA has a number of smaple of documents that may be of use to you in setting up your shed, if you’d like a copy of these, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registering with IMSA
There are over 450 registered Men’s Sheds in Ireland and new sheds are registering with IMSA at the rate of one every week. IMSA’s work includes hosting regular events that give the Shedders opportunities to network with each other and share ideas. If you’d like to register, please contact our team at email@example.com or phone 01 891 6150 for your application pack.