How Men’s Shed improves men’s wellbeing

Men's Shed has a mission to reduce social isolation by providing camaraderie, skills and support.

All around Australia, Men’s Sheds provide a welcoming social environment for men from all walks of life, who come together for camaraderie, new skills, health support, or to tinker with that DIY project.

In Buderim on the Sunshine Coast, the local Men’s Shed has benefited from funds received through the Medibank Community Grants program. With a goal of improving men’s health – physical, mental and emotional – the Shed has created programs focusing on nutrition and exercise, and the grant has allowed in-house cooking classes and weekly meal programs to be set up.

We had a chat with Buderim Men’s Shed Vice President Barry Cheales, to find out more about how the Shed is making a difference in the community.

Buderim Men's Shed

How did Buderim Men’s Shed come about?

The Buderim Rotary Club instigated the concept in late 2010 when they were looking for a local project to improve men’s health. Initially, Buderim Men’s Shed was a small group of about 40 men. This has continued to grow and the number of financial members is now around 250-300, making it the largest of the 1,000 Men’s Sheds in Australia.

What are the aims of the Shed?

Our aims are to improve the health of men on the Sunshine Coast. This includes physical, mental and emotional health. A major aim is to reduce problems associated with social isolation, particularly depression and alcohol abuse. The Shed does this by providing activities for men to enjoy, whether it’s large and complex projects or just a place where they can come for a cup of tea and a chat. A Health and Wellbeing Committee also checks on the progress of health issues of members and their partners, and organises visits and any assistance required.

The Shed also provides a service to the broader community by making and repairing items.

Who visits the Shed?

Our members are encouraged to visit the Shed as often as they want to. There are a number of activities running at the Shed and each activity has a group leader and operates in a specific area at set times during the week. We currently have over 25 activity groups that attract anywhere between a couple of members to over 30.

Our members come from all possible backgrounds from senior managers and professionals to tradesmen, and almost all are fully or largely retired. The average age of members is 72 years with a range over men in their 30s to over 90.

“Surveys show that our members like the freedom to come whenever they feel like it, and the friendship and camaraderie they find at the Shed.”

What activities happen at the Shed? 

There is a huge range of activities on offer, from traditional woodworking, wood turning, toy making, metal work and gardening to discussion groups, music, lead lighting, wood carving and art.

Our most popular groups include computer education (beginner and advanced), woodworking, metal work, physical fitness, furniture restoration, sport and recreation.

What do men love about the Shed?

Surveys show that our members like the freedom to come whenever they feel like it, and the friendship and camaraderie they find at the Shed. They also have the opportunity to give back to the community and complete their own projects. Through our surveys, we know that there is a marked improvement in overall satisfaction of life after joining the Shed.

How did the Medibank Community Fund assist you in reaching your aims?

The Medibank grant has allowed the Shed to develop a number of new initiatives in the health field. We have established a physical fitness program, ‘Shed Strong’, and employed health professionals to assist with its set up and running, and developed our nutrition program.

‘Shed Strong’ incorporates a fully equipped gym and the program has been running for three months. Currently 20-30 men are enrolled, participating in a supervised and structured exercise program three mornings a week.

Even though the program has only been running for a short time, members are already reporting positive health outcomes such as reductions in blood sugar levels, better balance and encouragement to do extra exercise such as daily walking.

Learn more about Men’s Shed and find a location near you. 

 

Learn more about community projects supported by the Medibank Community Fund.

Recommended reading - Focus on diabetes

Experts

10 tips for diabetes-friendly food

Top ten food tips to manage or prevent diabetes and enjoy a healthy life.

Read more
Travel

7 tips for travelling with diabetes

Dr Jane Read shares some simple strategies to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Read more
Experts

5 simple ways to cut back on sugar

Sweeten the deal naturally – here's how to reduce added sugar in your diet

Read more
Experts

Diabetes myths busted

Busting some of the common myths associated with diabetes.

Read more
Experts

Diet for type 2 diabetes

How to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes

Read more
Experts

Diabetes shopping tips

How to be savvy in the supermarket and make healthy choices.

Read more
Experts

How to reduce your risk of diabetes

Simple lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of diabetes.

Read more
Community

Hit 100: Diabetes-friendly eating made easy

Hit 100 takes the frustration out of diabetes-friendly eating for a happier, healthier life.

Read more
Experts

Food principles for diabetes management

Diabetes is a condition in which your body can’t regulate the amount of glucose in your blood.

Read more
Experts

How a healthy diet can prevent chronic disease

Chronic disease is often discussed in terms of four major disease groups

Read more
In Brief

Mediterranean diet for diabetes prevention

Filling up on healthy fats favoured in the Mediterranean may help reduce your risk of diabetes.

Read more
Community

Preventing type 2 diabetes

For Stephanie Jang, positive fitness, diet and lifestyle changes helped reduce her diabetes risk.

Read more
Experts

Myokines: The secret way exercise boosts your health

Professor Mark Febbraio explains how exercising helps you stay healthy in more ways than one.

Read more
Lifestyle

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because the signs can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know

Read more
Lifestyle

6 soft drink alternatives

Fun and fruity alternatives that satisfy your sugar cravings, look impressive and the kids will love

Read more
Recipes

10 delicious, low-sugar desserts

Desserts so delicious and fresh, you won't even notice they are low-sugar.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.