Men in Sheds Bedford was formed in July 2012 as a not-for-profit association with charitable purposes. On the 23rd August 2017, it became a registered charity with the Charity Commission (1174339).
Our aim is to keep men active and healthy by getting them out of the house and meeting people, making friends, and doing stuff. Have fun working with others in pursuing their hobbies and practical interests. You can share skills, learn new ones, and help with community-based projects. We also arrange several days out, visits, and social events. Although primarily organised around practical skills, the shed is open to everyone. The Men in Shed movement is primarily aimed at older more mature men – but everyone is welcome. We do have younger members and several ladies who attend.
We meet in the Annex at the Bedford Arts and Craft Centre, Ampthill Road (off Althorpe Street), Bedford MK42 9HE (the entrance to the Art and Craft Centre is nearly opposite to the Bedford Hospital A&E entrance). We are open every day of the week, but we recommend visiting us on Mondays between 10:00 and 13:00 as this is a quiet session where machines are not in use. We are always looking to involve more people, gain members, and develop our activities.
The Men in Sheds movement began in Australia in 1998 as an attempt to provide support to the large number of ‘disengaged’ men aged fifty-five plus. Specifically, those who were either retired or unemployed, and would benefit from coming together and working on shared activities. Since then there have been several articles published showing communal sheds help increase the length and quality of life of elderly males. If there is one thing that’s the enemy of wellbeing it’s loneliness,” says GP Ann Robinson. “Get out there and connect with people.”
There are now nearly a thousand sheds in Australia, and this has spread to New Zealand, Canada, America and more recently to Ireland, where there are several hundred sheds. Age UK piloted the ‘Men in Sheds’ idea in three areas in the UK – it was very successful, and now other communities are being encouraged and supported in rolling out the initiative in their neighbourhood.
There are now over 477 sheds in the UK, with an average of seven opening each month. Men in Sheds Bedford was formed in July 2012 and initially ASDA Stores Ltd kindly allowed us to meet in their community rooms at their distribution centre at Marsh Leys Farm, Kempston – for which we are very grateful. Age UK Milton Keynes and Men in Sheds Milton Keynes have provided valuable support and advice whilst we got going.
We have received support from Age UK Bedfordshire and the Community and Voluntary Service (CVS) Bedfordshire; Age UK Bedfordshire kindly provided us with pump-priming funding to help us get onto a sound footing.
The Shed is overseen by the Trustees, and run by a Management Committee consisting of:
Trustees: Bob Wickens, Jeremy Honner, Steve Conway, George Harland, and Stephen Clare.