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.