Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 26th 2014 Contents B1
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Men s Sheds have sprung up all
over Australia---and have spread
from there to New Zealand, Eng-
land, Ireland and elsewhere---as a
successful way to keep men con-
The whole idea began in the land
Down Under, where the humble
backyard shed has traditionally been
a safe place for men to relax,
indulging in unique obsessions and
quiet hobbies which add meaning
to their lives. Whether it s making
furniture or refurbishing an old car
with a pile of used parts, fixing bicy-
cles or trying out an aquaponics gar-
dening experiment, shed activities
have given many men a way to find
self-expression and satisfaction in
their own space---away from the
domestic organisation of wives.
Whether it s a place for reflection
or a very social space, sheds have
been where many men can chat and
share knowledge with others: a
unique place in Australian culture.
The Men s Sheds movement in
Australia borrowed this idea to cre-
ate a male-friendly space for older
men to come together to work on
projects as a way to promote men s
health. Each shed is autonomous,
and local men decide how it is run,
what activities they do, and where
and when they meet. They can be
set up in a community centre, a
house or even a traditional shed.
In the process of doing projects,
the men meet other people, develop
new interests and find a new space
to relax and socialise. The idea took
off, and in the late 1990s, hundreds
of Men s Sheds sprung up all over
Australia. They soon expanded to
include men of all ages. In the UK,
many similar Sheds started with
very little funding, as simple self-
help groups asking the public for
donations of simple equipment---
such as old tools---to get them start-
ed.By April 2007, The Australian
Men s Shed Association (AMSA)
was set up to act as a resource cen-
tre for all Sheds in that country, to
promote the idea of Independent
Community Men s Sheds. And the
Australian government began to
help with some funding as a way
to promote men s health.
From carpentry to drumming
While many Shed groups have
focused on carpentry or metalwork
projects, others have made short
films, organised community barbe-
cues, run drumming classes, made
Christmas toys for charities, repaired
bicycles and fixed old lawnmow-
ers---anything, really, that the local
men in an area are keen on. Young
men or even boys may work with
the older men, learning new skills
and maybe also learning something
about life from the men with whom
CONTINUES ON PAGE B2
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Suspects behind Expendables 3 leak arrested in UK
In the final part of our
three-part series on old
men and loneliness,
SHEREEN ALI looks at Men s
Sheds, a way to keep men
connected. The idea start-
ed in Australia and has
spread to other countries
like the UK and Ireland.
The Shed brings together
men, boys and even some
women to take part in
activities and pass on
Bringing men together in the shed
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LOCAL SENIOR CENTRES:
The Coolum Men's Shed in Queensland, Australia manufactures bird and possum nesting boxes for the Coolum Coast Care Group. They also do timber
repairs and special orders for the general public.
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