A Men's Shed is a development of the caricature 'shed in the garden', where a man pursues his practical interests in independence and ease. A Men's Shed aims to keep the best aspects of this but offer a larger space for more people. With more space, tools, people, skills and resources a Shed will enable and encourage members to make, mend or follow a hobby. For the members it not only provides missing facilities but it can provide or replace elements of a workplace that some people miss such as a role or purpose, workmates, problem solving, sharing skills, being creative and even the work!
The Camden Town Shed opened in May 2011 and was the first UK Shed started by its users. It is s mainly equipped for woodwork although we are keen to expand to include other activities. We have for example a kiln for ceramics. Members are free to come when they wish, undertake projects of their choice and work at their own pace. Most projects are practical (making or mending toys, furniture etc) and for personal satisfaction, some are artistic and others are for community benefit.
Work undertaken for the community can be particularly rewarding and appreciated, for example, building a castle for disabled children to fire arrows at. A lot of peer-to-peer learning takes place around the benches but even more may happen over the teapot. We open two days per week but could open more with more supervisors. Although set up for men initially we offer a mixed session on Wednesdays. Almost all members are retired and some travel across London to attend. Our current average attendance is 9 per day.
The Shed is advertised in the local press and also promoted through networking with other organisations. It is free to use but as members share responsibility for the running costs through personal contributions and making things for sale plus some earnings from training we are self -funding. In 2011 start-up support came from mostly from individual donations plus help from UnLtd, the Co-operative Charitable Foundation’s Community Fund, the Wakeham Trust, and the Nina and Roger Charitable Trust.
The Camden Town Shed has played a significant part in the development of the Men's Shed movement in the UK having called and hosted the inaugural meeting of the UK Men's Sheds Association. The national website is at www.menssheds.org.uk.
Registered charity 1145666.