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 social space with more people, skills, tools and resources. They not only enable and encourage members to make, mend or follow a hobby but can provide or replace elements of a workplace that many people miss such as having a role or purpose, workmates, solving problems, sharing skills, being creative or even ‘going to work’!
The Camden Town Shed opened in April 2011 and was the first UK Shed started by its users – a Community Shed. (The previous four Sheds were set up by Age UK affiliates as service-providers). It is mainly equipped to work with wood but we also hand-build in clay, and will take up other activities following member’s interests.
We usually have about 10 people a day in the Shed. Attendance is on a donations (pay what you can afford ) basis and we are funded by these donations and income from sales. The Shed is promoted in the local press and through networking with other organisations.
Members are free to come when they wish, undertake projects of their choice and work at their own pace. Most activities are practical (making or mending toys, furniture, clay pots etc) and are for personal satisfaction, for sale, or to benefit local good causes.
Work undertaken for the community can be particularly rewarding and appreciated, for example, building a castle for disabled children to fire arrows at or a scale model of a local Victorian house for a nearby school.
Our Shed aims to bring people together and despite having in mind men experiencing difficulty with retirement or redundancy from the outset we offered a mixed session on Wednesdays. Almost all members are retired and some travel across London to attend. Sessions are also provided for people needing a higher level of supervision than on our main days. Whilst a lot of peer-to-peer learning takes place around the benches even more may happen over the teapot.
Our open sessions are Tuesdays (men only) and Wednesdays (mixed) 10-4pm. For those who need more support a wood-working supervisor is available on Mondays and Thursdays 10.00 – 12.30/1.30 – 4.00pm. To attend these sessions please contact the supervisor Alan Alison on 07429 651676.
Hand-building with clay also happens from 10-4pm Wednesdays and Thursdays. No previous experience is necessary and you will be able to make anything you choose such as boxes, bowls, models, tiles etc. Many people find that ‘a day with clay takes your stress away’.
The Camden Town Shed has played a significant part in the development of the Men’s Shed movement in the UK. Our founder and chair wrote the initial advisory/promotional website and later called and hosted the inaugural meeting of the UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA). He is now the Associationn’s Honarary Life President. The national website is at www.menssheds.org.uk.
Registered charity 1145666.