Scottish Men's Shed Report

Recent policy focus is on the ‘non-obvious’ role of community-based organisations in tackling causes of poor health, such as social exclusion. Men’s Sheds are a type of community-based organisation offering health and wellbeing benefits to men, despite this not being the explicit reason they exist. A qualitative study was conducted in Scotland to identify sustainability challenges that impact on the ability of Sheds to become a formal healthcare service. Findings showed that a reliance on ageing and retired volunteers to undertake operational tasks and generate income to fund activities affected the ability of Sheds to sustain and develop. Further, members preferred their Sheds to remain informal and flexible to fit their specific needs. Although Sheds are recognised for their health and wellbeing benefits to men, policymakers must recognise that formalising their activities might detract from the Shed’s primary aims. This paper summarises specific policy implications and recommendations, taking into consideration tensions between the expectations placed on Sheds to expand into formal healthcare delivery, and the needs of Shed users.

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