National drive to get retired men back to work…in sheds


Latest retirement hobby gives new meaning to the ‘man cave’

 Retired men, who are at risk of losing the companionship and sense of purpose regularly provided by work, are being encouraged to dust off their tool box and muck in at their local shed.

 Across the UK, Men’s Sheds – a place where men come together to pursue hobbies and practical interests in a communal work space – are popping up and all in good time according to new research released by older people’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service, today.

 The research found that retirement can be a life changing experience, with 51 per cent of men over 65 admitting they socialise a lot less since they stopped working. A third (32 per cent) said they avoid socialising altogether and 45 per that they only socialise once or twice a month.

 The release of the research marks the launch of a partnership between Royal Voluntary Service and UK’s Men’s Sheds Association to jointly support the development of Men’s Sheds across England.

 Since the first shed opened in the UK 5 years ago, there are now 187 in the UK with two new sheds on average opening a week. The Men’s Shed Association follows a blueprint from an Australian project and is a place for men to come together and work on either individual or community projects.

 Increasing the number of interactive services taking place in a group environment like a shed or workshop has the potential to reduce the onset of isolation, with 21 per cent of over 65 year old men claiming they would socialise more if they had a group to go to where they could learn a new skill, and 81 per cent saying they would prefer to socialise around a common interest.

 Knowing there would be other men there to chat to was also important for many, with 39 per cent admitting they would feel more comfortable going to a venue where they know there will be other men

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said:

“Men are often one of the most difficult groups to reach as many are reluctant to take part in the traditional services provided by charities or health care professionals. Through our existing services we have already seen the positive results of men sharing skills and the sense of belonging and purpose it can bring. I’m delighted that we have partnered with the UK Men’s Sheds Association to help empower more men to join or start their own shed.”

 Continuing to engage in hobbies has numerous health benefits – physical as well as mental. More than half (57 per cent) of men and women over the age of 65 believe continuing to partake in their hobby has helped them stay mentally active, and 36 per cent said it was responsible for ensuring they stay physically active. As well as benefiting general wellbeing, the research shows that hobbies are potentially a great way of combating loneliness in older people with 16 per cent agreeing that their skill allows them to interact with others.

 Mike Jenn, Chair of UK Men’s Sheds Association, said:

“The Shed provides a place for men to make things and to have conversations. There is a real sense of pride as products are created from scratch and from recycled materials. Many of the men are more active than they’ve ever been, are talking more and have more friends.

 “Partnering with the Royal Voluntary Service will support the growth of Sheds and will bring a better quality of life to many more men, their families and their communities. Experience shows more Sheds will start where there is local advice and encouragement. It is so welcome.”


Mick, a retired carpenter and a Men’s Sheds member, said

“Coming to the Shed is one of the best things that has happened to me. After my cancer treatment I was offered a day centre place with lunch, bingo etc but the Shed is like my own space where I choose what I do and when, where I use my skills and guide others, where we look after ourselves and each other. It got me out of my flat and gave me new mates and the opportunity to make things and contribute to the community. I probably wouldn’t be here now without it.”

Royal Voluntary Service exists to enrich the lives of older people and to ensure that they can continue to live life to the full. It does this by providing support and volunteering opportunities to older people in order to have a beneficial impact on their health and wellbeing. The charity supports 100,000 older people each month with a range of services from Good Neighbours, Community Transport and Books on Wheels to more interactive services such as Knit and Natter and Men in the Workshop.

To find out more about Royal Voluntary Service please visit: