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.
CRABTREE Lois, TINKER Anthea, GLASER Karen
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore older men’s perceptions of the health and wellbeing benefits of participating in men’s sheds. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative semi-structured interviews with eight men aged 65 and over from men’s sheds in London. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed by hand, and analysis was conducted through coding of the transcripts. Findings: The results of this study suggested that men’s sheds improved older men’s perceived level of social interaction, men’s outlook, led to self-reported improvements in depression, and all perceived themselves to be fitter since joining. Despite the research being conducted in an urban area, it highlighted the lack of prior community engagement. Research limitations/implications: The sample size used in the research was small and may not be representative of other men’s sheds in different areas, therefore further research with a larger sample should be conducted. Practical implications: A health policy dedicated to males which includes the promotion and funding of men’s sheds, such as in Ireland, should be considered by the government. In addition, clinical commissioning groups should recognise men’s sheds as a non-clinical alternative for their patients through social prescribing in general practice. Finally, in order to achieve the World Health Organisation initiative of creating “age friendly cities” community groups such as men’s sheds need to be promoted and further utilised. Originality/value: There has been little research in the UK.
This report outlines the positive impact that the growing men’s shed movement is having on later life, and how it is improving men’s health and wellbeing. It gathered individual stories, experiences and observations from 8 men’s sheds, recording 30 individual conversations with shedders, to find out why sheds work for them. It also held 2 conversations with shed supporters. Using direct quotations from the conversations, the report looks at the following themes: how people got involved in their shed; what makes the shed work for them; the importance of sheds as a place to develop new skills and knowledge; the social, health and welfare benefits – including the development of friendships and reduction in loneliness and social isolation; and the positive impact on communities, such as helping other community groups and promoting connections between the generations. The personal stories may be helpful in promoting the benefits of sheds other men and other communities, raising awareness of the shed movement amongst the general public, and providing funders and policy makers with a better understanding of the importance of men’s sheds’ importance, and of why they should continue to value and support them.