The community shed: a photo story

What happens when men retire?

Some men may take that world cruise but it seems that many more just end up feeling lonely. With evidence linking loneliness to physical illness and to cognitive decline, loneliness is becoming a health issue.

The men’s shed movement started in Australia in 2007 to counter this trend. At one level, if you’re a klutz with a hammer, you’ll be coached in how to make stuff. But the real purpose of men’s sheds is to foster a sense of belonging.

They are now appearing in the UK, and I went to visit a shed in King’s Heath, Birmingham.

Moseley & Kings Heath Shed.
Peter is the chairman and secretary. “Women’s friendships are face to face: they might talk over coffee. Men’s friendships are shoulder to shoulder: we go to football games. With the shed, we can recreate that kind of interaction.”
The shed was converted from an old potting shed. Everything here, other than the walls, was built by the people who attend the shed.
The shed has several projects on the go. In this one, people are creating slats to repair a bench. (Especially useful since some of the yoofs in Mosley like to use a park bench as a makeshift barbecue).
Moseley & Kings Heath Shed styles itself as a ‘shed’ rather than a ‘Men’s shed’. This means women are welcome too.
I’d expected to see a shed stocked with a few saws and screwdrivers. But the shed has some serious tools. Here, the operator is using a lathe to create a wooden bowl.
An example of the glasswork created by people who attend the shed.
Michael, with one of his creations.

Thanks to the people at Moseley & Kings Heath Shed for allowing me to take pictures. You can read more about men’s sheds at the Men’s Shed Association.

This is photo story 16/52. More details about this project.

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