• Charity No. 19928 Phone No. 0818 900 800

  • UK Men’s Sheds Conference: Discovering Men’s Sheds, Thursday 29 September 2011

    Discovering Men’s Sheds: The Effect on Men’s Health, Well-being and Informal Learning

    Thursday 29 September 2011

    Ramada Leicester, Granby Street, Leicester LE1 6ES

    Jointly organised by Age UK, NIACE, Men’s Health Forum and Leicester University.

    The government is committed to tackling health inequalities and improving health outcomes, including premature mortality. With 42% of men dying before the age of 75 compared to 26% of women, the health and wellbeing of men in later life is therefore critically important. A lot of these men are known to be lonely and isolated. A recent report written for the Age UK’s Agenda for Later Life conference 2011 identified that 300,000 older men in the UK say they leave their home once a week or less, and half a million older men in the UK are lonely.

    NIACE’s research has shown that returning to informal learning as an adult has a positive impact on health and wellbeing, and promotes positive mental health. Non formal learning often brings with it social capital benefits, and improved health from contact and support of other participants. Health and wellbeing benefits are some of the identifiable consequences of participating in community organisations. Men’s Sheds provide an opportunity to enhance the role of men’s cultural norms, values and agency and have been found to be a successful method to increase health and wellbeing.

    This important event will bring together delegates from all over the country to learn about the ways in which informal learning, health and wellbeing and the Men’s Shed initiative interrelate.  Participants will explore how the activities in Sheds impact positively upon men’s health and well-being, the Age UK’s pilot Men in Sheds projects (funded by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust), and the value of non formal learning through the Sheds and other similar initiatives.

    This conference provides a unique opportunity to:

    • Explore achievements of the Men’s Sheds initiative and proposed future developments;
    • Consider the importance of linking non formal learning with men’s health and well-being;
    • Hear from Age UK’s pilot Men in Sheds projects about their challenges and successes in setting up and running their Sheds;
    • Hear about the intended and unintended outcomes for participants of the Sheds;
    • Meet and network with delegates with a similar interest from a wide range of backgrounds and interests nationally and internationally;
    • Explore further the policy, social, economic and demographic contexts underpinning current the work.

    The conference will benefit all of those with an interest in finding out more about the value of Men’s Sheds, non formal learning and health and wellbeing including:

    • Policy makers from local authorities and government departments, such as Communities and Local Government; Business Innovation and Skills; Department of Health; Department of Work and Pensions;
    • Providers of services to people in later life, particularly those from voluntary, statutory and private sectors;
    • Health and/or care professionals and community development & welfare workers;
    • Voluntary organisations with a focus on learning, health and well-being;
    • Providers of services which encourage non formal learning, such as colleges of further education, adult learning services and the Workers’ Educational Association;
    • Organisations promoting inter-generational learning;
    • Social researchers.

    (A late start so those traveling from London and the South can take advantage of the 9.15am off-peak rail fare; arriving in Leicester at 10.30am)


    10.00Registrations, interactive exhibitions and networking
    10.40Plenary session

    Chair for the morning: tbc

    Chair’s welcome and introduction

    A Shedder’s Story

    What a Shed means to a man.

    Professor John Field (Professor of Lifelong Learning and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning,University of Stirling)  Men’s Sheds in Context: Men’s Health, Well-being and Informal Learning

    11.30Morning Workshops (repeated in the afternoon)

    Please indicate your choices on the application form

    1) Set up and Run a Shed.

    Explore practicalities and challenges.

    The pilot Sheds share their experiences of setting up and running their projects. Hear how they secured a venue, set up the day to day running of the Shed, found and engaged men in later life, and the intended and unintended outcomes.

    Nicky Wheddon, Group Support Worker, Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

    Harvinder Channa, National Programmes Development Officer, Age UK

    The Shed Co-ordinators from Age UK Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Age UK South Lakeland and Age Concern Greenwich will be on hand to answer questions about their Sheds.

    2) Sustain your Shed.

    Having got it how do you keep it?

    Discover examples of how Sheds have been sustained in Australia and Ireland, and the model being explored by Age UK. How does it make a difference if the projects are men led?

    Sally Bloomer, Business Development Manager, Age UK South Lakeland

    David Richardson, National Programme Delivery Manager, Age UK

    3) Communicating Health to Men in Later Life Inside and Outside the Shed.

    Exploring different methods of effectively engaging and influencing older men.

    What are the most effective ways of raising older men’s awareness of older men about health and well-being issues and changing their behaviours? The workshop will discuss new Men’s Health Forum research in this area and will be relevant to those working with Men’s Sheds/Men in Sheds and elsewhere.

    Peter Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Men’s Health Forum

    Áine Duggan, Strategic Partnership Project Officer, Men’s Health Forum

    Supported by Malcolm Bird, Senior Men in Sheds Co-ordinator, Age UK Cheshire

    4) Beyond Men’s Sheds – other forms of engagement.

    Looking at the UK what other examples do we have of men’s engagement in the ‘Big Society’ or in their local communities? This session will explore other forms of engagement to better ascertain how, why, where and when men participate.

    Jim Soulsby, Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester and Association of Education and Ageing

    5) Engaging men – the role of informal adult learning

    How does adult education engage with men?  What outreach and curriculum development is most effective?  What is the evidence for the positive impact of informal learning on men’s health and wellbeing?  Drawing on examples and learning from the Transformation Fund (£20m government grant fund to encourage non-formal adult learning), this session will identify what has been achieved to date and explore with delegates how more can be done in today’s economic climate.

    Helen Plant, Senior Project Officer, NIACE

    12.30Lunch, exhibition and networking

    13.30Chair for the afternoon:  Jim Soulsby, Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester and Association of Education and Ageing.

    Keynote Address:

    Professor Barry Golding, Deputy Head of School of Education, University of Ballarat, Australia

    14.10Afternoon Workshops (repeated from the morning)

    Please indicate your choices on the application form

    15.10Afternoon break, exhibition and networking

    15.20Panel discussion

    David Hughes, Chief Executive, NIACE

    Helena Herklots, Services Director. Age UK

    Barry Golding, Deputy Head of School of Education, University of Ballarat

    Peter Baker, Chief Executive, Men’s Health Forum

    15.55Chair’s concluding remarks


    Conference fee:

    £75 (to include tea/coffee and lunch)

    (NIACE does not charge VAT on conference or course fees)

    Event Ref:                 C3019/0911

    Closing date:            Thursday 15 September 2011

    For further details contact:

    NIACE Events Team

    Chetwynd House,

    21 De Montfort Street

    Leicester LE1 6TP

    Tel.      0116 204 2833

    Email:  events@niace.org.uk

    Online:  http://www.niace.org.uk/events