Supporting the Men’s Shed Network
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Please be aware that during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic all Better Together staff are working from home. The Better Together Helpline is operating usual hours (9am-5pm, Mondays-Fridays) so if you would like information, advice, support or just a friendly chat, please call them on 0300 303 3920.
Sadly all Norfolk’s Men’s Sheds are currently closed, but Shedders are still keeping in touch through virtual groups. If you are feeling isolated and would like to join a local conversation, get in touch with our Men’s Shed Co-ordinator Jonny Wood and he will try and connect you to a Shed near you.
And Shedders nationally are keeping in touch through a weekly 2-hour radio programme on Wednesday mornings at 10am. Listen to earlier podcasts of previous episodes including an interview with Kate Gordon, UK Men’s Shed Development Manager who many Norfolk shedders will remember was guest speaker at our network meeting in December.
Better Together Norfolk is co-ordinating the new Norfolk Sheds Network, a collaborative venture with the UK Men’s Shed Association (UKMSA) and Norfolk County Council’s Adult Social Services Development Team.
What’s a Men’s Shed?
Men’s Sheds are community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. The activities are often similar to those of garden sheds, but for groups of men to enjoy together. They help reduce loneliness and isolation, but most importantly, they’re fun! Sheds often play a significant role in their locality, not only providing activities and companionship for their members but also designing, constructing and repairing items for the wider community and individuals within it. Norfolk currently has 16 Sheds already in operation across the county, with another 8 in development and several others being discussed. It is our aim to have a local Shed operating within reach of every man in Norfolk who would like to get involved!
Who can join a Men’s Shed?
Sheds are open to those aged 18 or over. It makes sense to join your nearest one, but if you’d rather join a different one for your own reasons, that is usually fine. Each shed is independent, so will have a slightly different joining procedure, but it will normally involve completing an application form, undertaking an induction and potentially paying a small subscription (at the discretion of the individual shed) although sheds do not prohibit anyone who cannot afford to do so.
Where’s my nearest Shed?
Use our map to find active and developing sheds int he county. Active sheds are already open at least once a week and you can contact them directly about getting involved. Many of the developing sheds will also be already meeting, and whilst they are often still at the planning stage, many would welcome new members straight away, especially if you’d like to help them with the ‘setting up’! If there isn’t a shed near you yet, then please get in touch with us – we may already know of plans to start one in your area and, if not, we can either keep your interest on file or (even better!) help you to get a new shed up and running!
What’s the Norfolk Sheds Network?
The Norfolk Sheds Network aims to support and develop Men’s Sheds across the county, bring them together to learn, share experience and support each other, and to be a voice for Sheds and ‘Shedders’ both within and beyond Norfolk. We are keen to help anyone interested to find out about ‘Shedding’ in the county and link those who would like to get involved with their nearest Shed!
The Network runs county events to bring representatives of local Sheds together and is also planning to provide training and networking opportunities at a district or local level. We encourage greater communication and collaboration between the Sheds, and are working towards running a special county event in 2021 where we hope to share the joys and benefits of Shedding with a wider audience as well as our regular Shedders!
Norfolk Sheds Network is overseen by a Steering Group, chaired by Henry Gowman (UKMSA Norfolk Ambassador and Chair of Poringland & District Men’s Shed) and also employs a Network Facilitator, Jonny Wood, who is part of the Better Together Norfolk team.
I have other questions…
For any questions to do with Sheds and Shedding in Norfolk, please get in touch with us and we can answer your queries as well as put you in touch with your nearest shed. If your query is about Men’s Sheds in general, then why not have a look at the UK Men’s Shed Association’s FAQ page (https://menssheds.org.uk/about/what-is-a-mens-shed/mens-sheds-faq/).
Jonny Wood, Norfolk Sheds Network Facilitator
Henry Gowman, UK Men’s Shed Association Norfolk Ambassador