The personal and community impact of a Scottish Men's Shed
FOSTER Emma J., MUNOZ Sarah‐Anne, LESLIE Stephen J.
Social isolation and loneliness are known to be associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Therefore, reducing social isolation and loneliness may improve such outcomes. In relation to men's health, “Men's Sheds” have been shown as one mechanism to achieve this. Studies in Australia and England have shown social, health and personal benefits; however, this remains an area that has not yet been researched in Scotland. This study, therefore, aimed to assess the characteristics of attendees, self‐reported motivations for and the values and benefits of attending the Shed from the views of the attendees themselves. The participants of the study were the members of a Men's Shed in the North of Scotland, which was initially set‐up by a small number of core Shedders. A convenience sample was recruited by opportunistic interviewing of participants when they attended the Shed using a mixed methods approach from 1 to 15 November 2016. In the absence of a validated questionnaire, a bespoke questionnaire was developed in several iterative stages. The answers to the questionnaire were transferred to an electronic database and analysed by frequency and thematic analysis. The participants (n = 31) had a mean age (SD) of 69.7 ± 9.5 with 96.8% being retired, thus the majority of the Shed users were older and retired. The results suggest that there were several benefits from attending the Shed, with an overwhelming majority of the sample reporting personal, social and health benefits—however, more research is needed to determine the magnitude of these. This study has also shown that the men attending the Shed frequently discussed health, which could potentially have a beneficial effect. The Shed therefore, as a community project, has the potential to have a positive impact on health welfare by focusing on the social aspects of life. (Edited publisher abstract)