Men’s Sheds in Victoria
The Victorian Men’s Shed Association (VMSA) was formed in 2005 and became an Incorporated Association in 2007 and is the Peak body that represents the Men’s Sheds in Victoria. There are in excess of 335 sheds operating in Victoria. Our purpose it to provide a forum for Victorian Men’s Sheds to exchange ideas, share resources and experiences, network and find support. We promote the profile of Men’s Sheds and “shedding” activities to the Victorian community and represent the interests of Victorian Sheds to government, businesses and community organisations. We also provide practical advice, assistance and support for Sheds.

What are Men’s Sheds
The personal or backyard shed is a cultural icon in Australian history. A shed was a space in the backyard were men: grandfathers, fathers and sons, would go to tinker, play, fix, repair and make items. Where skills were learnt, reinforced and handed down through the generations. It was a blokes personal space, where they could teach, learn, talk and discuss, and solve the problems of the world. During the 1990’s saw the establishment of a number of community sheds, that allowed for men who did not have their own shed to participate with other men in a community based facility to participate in shed activities. These community sheds grew out of necessity due to people down sizing their homes in retirement, moving into retirement villages or apartments and units, and no longer having the room to have their own shed. Today we know these facilities as Men’s Sheds.

What is their purpose
The main purpose of a men’s shed is to provide for the health and well being of the men attending the shed. Assisting to reduce the social loneliness, isolation and depression caused through unemployment, retrenchment, retirement or other life changing conditions. Sheds provide a safe and friendly environment where the men can talk, learn new skills, past on their life skills and be a part of a bigger community and be involved in
meaningful activities and projects.

What do they offer
Men’s shed offer many different things to the men that attend, but most men appreciate that the biggest part of attending is the mate ship or friendships that are formed. Being unemployed, retrenched or retired, many men no longer have someone to talk to, be it sports, politics, health, or just a sounding board for the many changes that are occurring within their lives. The friendships that are formed at a shed allow these discussions to occur. The participation in meaningful activities or projects also gives confidence and pride and a sense of accomplishment in completing these activities and projects

What activities and projects do we do
The activities that are conducted within sheds are many and varied, are based on the skills and interest of the blokes that attend. The main activities that occur include, but not limited to:

Wood working
• The making of wooden toys, bird feeders, animal enclosures, cheese boards,
cutting boards or tool boxes for kindergarten and primary school students.
• The making or repairing of kitchen tables and chairs, cabinets, outdoor seating
and tables, bookcases, blanket boxes, buddy seats, mud kitchens and coffins. • Working with a lathe to produce pens, bowls, lamp stands etc
• The construction of garden beds for schools and other community groups
• The areas in wood working are limited by the imagination of the members.

Metal Working
• The making of repairing of metal items such as animal enclosures, letter boxes,
garden hangers, gates, trailers, etc. • Working with a lathe to produce metal spindles or parts
• Vehicle repairs or restorations

Food Preparation
• Catering at fundraising events such as Bunnings BBQ’s
• Daily or weekly meals for shed attendees
• Shed events or functions – AGM’s, Mothers Day, Xmas breakups etc
• Landscape painting

Social Activities
• Snooker or 8 ball
• Card games
• Movie days
• Social excursions to places of interest
• Members nights or days

Health Activities
• Walking groups
• Cycling groups
• Exercise groups
• Health information talks

How big is a shed
There are Men’s Sheds in Victoria that have 5 or 6 members, and there are sheds that have almost 400 members. Across the board the average shed in Victoria would have around 50 members. As for the size of the building that a men’s shed is in, sheds also vary from very basic single car garages to purpose built workshops of 600m2. The average new shed being built today would be around 12m x 20m or 240m2 in size, generally with a service yard beside (for waste collection and dust extraction), external paths and an area for off street car parking. These shed internally will allow for disability access for paths, doors and walkways, and disability accessible toilets, a kitchen / meals / multi purpose / meeting area, an office area, a computer room, a wood working area, a metal working area, and a materials storage area

Growth in sheds
At the time of the Incorporation of the VMSA there were 30 sheds operating in Victoria (September 2007), currently there are 325 sheds operating and a further 25 sheds in start up mode. Annually we are still seeing a growth of around 20 – 25 new sheds per annum. As for the growth in members within sheds, we have seen the number increase from 1200 in September 2007, to almost 17,000 as of 30 June 2018. We are starting to see sheds doubling their numbers in 2 years, a shed that forms with 25 members will have 50 in 2 years time and 100 in a further 2 years.

Who operates the shed
There are currently 325 sheds operating in Victoria, of these 185 are Incorporated Associations and they are run by a Committee of Management elected by the members of the shed. The Committee of Management is responsible for the day to day operations and management of the shed including the finances, insurance, policies and procedures and fundraising activities to ensure the financial viability of the shed. The remaining 140 sheds are Auspiced by another organisation, that is they are a programme or service offered by an other organisation. This Auspicing can be via a Neighbourhood or Community House, it may be a Community Health Service, it might be a church, a Residents Association, a Progress Association, a hospital or Bush Nursing Home, a Lions or Rotary Club or a local council or shire Under an Auspicing arrangement, their should be a Memorandum of
Understanding between the two parties that outlines the responsibilities and requirements of each party to ensure the viability of the program. This will include who is the legal owner of the building, the tools and equipment and any donations that are received. This MOU will also cover the finances of the shed, whose name the bank account is in, how accounts can be paid, how petty cash is reimbursed, who pays the electricity, rates, insurance, maintenance / repairs of equipment. This should also provide and processes or procedures etc that need to be followed. It would also cover any reporting requirements, and communication paths between the two groups. As a group that is auspiced the group is not a legal entity and cannot own anything, nor can it operate a bank account

How is a shed funded – Building stage
There are a number of area’s that funding can be received to assist with the building of a new shed, or refurbing an existing building to suit a men’s shed and these include:
• Local council or shire funding
• State Government funding
• Federal Government funding
• Donations from other community groups
• Donations from other philanthropic organisations
• The sheds own fundraising activities

How is a shed funded – Operational
Men’s Sheds generally do not receive any operational funding. The day to day expenses to operate the shed needs to be funded by the shed
through their own income sources.
This is generally via:
• Membership fees
• Daily attendance fees
• Sale of food or drinks to members
• Fundraising activities
• Sale of surplus donated equipment
• Sale of items made at the shed
• Donations received

So what is a Men’s Shed
A Men’s shed is:
• It is a community owned and community operated facility
• A safe and friendly place for men of all ages to meet and socialise
• Where Men can participate in meaningful projects at their own pace
• Where Men can pass on their skills to other and learn new skill from others
• Where health and well being can be improved and social isolation, loneliness and
depression can be reduced
• Where men can feel part of a larger community
• Where men can meet new friend and create lasting friendships

What a Men’s Shed is not
A Men’s shed is not
• It is not a formal training program, but you may gain new knowledge and skills
• It is not a sports club, but you could play sports
• It is not a health programme but your health and well being may improve
• It is not an information service but you can ask for info if you need
• It is not a service for men, but activities organised by men
• It is not a funded service, but is does receive grants and donations

To find out more
For further details on how to establish a men’s shed or to find an existing men’s
shed in your area, please feel free to contact us:
Victorian Men’s Shed Association
Office: 173-175 Ordish Rd Dandenong Vic 3175