Men in Sheds (Hull) is a charity aiming to reduce social isolation and loneliness for an increasing population of older men in the Hull area. Social isolation and loneliness owing to the loss of family, friends, mobility or income has been evidenced to have a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing including blood pressure, heart problems and is closely linked to depression and anxiety.
Men in Sheds aims to connect with older men, primarily over 55 years old, who are a typically difficult demographic for healthcare services to reach, to improve their physical health and mental well-being through social interaction and providing them with a sense of purpose within their community.
With many members having physical or mental health issues, all the activities at the charity are designed to improve people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, providing a safe and inclusive space for members to come together to undertake woodworking projects, in particular for other local community groups in the city.
Members of the group speak passionately about the difference they feel they make to the local community and they regularly help other community based organisations in the city. Such projects include making a plaque for a local dementia friendly garden and planters for children at the nearby primary school.
The charity is proving essential to members, volunteers and the wider community, often providing a lifeline to local residents. One member recently said “I wouldn’t be here [alive] if it wasn’t for the shed”.
The charity was started in 2014, but had to close in 2020 due to the pandemic. The trustees kept in regular contact with members and volunteers during this time, sustaining a lifeline for many during the period of closure. When they reopened in June 2021 the charity doubled the number of sessions available to provide support to as many people as possible.
They currently have 46 active members and 9 volunteers, all local residents of Hull and the East Riding. This has increased by 50% since they reopened and they now have a waiting list for new members.
To help offer activities to more people, the charity has recently started a walking group “Walking/Talking Wednesdays” which is open to the whole community. Local residents have actively been attending each week and it has proved very popular within the local community.
Funds from the Matthew Good Foundation will be used to purchase supplies including wood, glue, screws and equipment for members within the shed to use. This will contribute enormously to the activities that the members can undertake and also to the future sustainability of the charity.
“We are honoured to be shortlisted to receive funding. It will make such a difference to our members and volunteers.
Our members are made up of people from all walks of life but with one thing in common, the shed. Some members are recently bereaved, others retired, many with physical and mental health issues. After the pandemic and its affects, there is now huge demand in the city of people who have and still do feel isolated and vulnerable.”
We visited the shed and met the leader of the charity, Nick, who is clearly committed to the success of the charity and the difference it is making to its service users and the wider community. This project is not only a vital part of many people’s lives, but it also has a wider impact reach to the families and friends of all the participants. In addition, the shed is well respected in the Men In Sheds community, and provides training and resources to other smaller sheds, which further expands their impact.
Latest Project Updates
Adam Walsh visits the shed
Adam Walsh, CEO of the John Good Group visited the shed along with Michelle Taft, Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation, during one of their sessions to meet the members who will benefit from the donation, talking to members about their experiences and the impact the shed has had on their lives.
After becoming one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good Round, Men in Sheds won the employee vote and £5,000 was granted.