Project information

Men in Sheds

At Men in Sheds we mend and renovate broken and old garden tools. Once renovated, these tools are donated to Africa for business start up schemes. This project engages older men who maybe experiencing stressful life events such as loneliness resulting from bereavement, redundancy or retirement.

April 2012 - March 2015

Charity information: Age Uk Exeter

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  • Need


    Poor health, disability, hearing loss and visual impairment along with the occurrence of stressful life events such as loneliness resulting from bereavement, redundancy or retirement can all contribute to a range of low level mental health problems including mild depression and anxiety amongst older men.

    It is our experience that men are not naturally attracted to groups or indeed to any forms of organised support when they are experiencing problems.


    Health and wellbeing imbalances can be effectively tackled through providing activities which improve men’s levels of physical activity access to opportunities to form social relationships. We have discovered that men are attracted to activities which replicate the work environment and provide practical opportunities. It is the participation in such activities which ultimately results in feelings of self reliance, independence and increased self esteem. MIS creates a gateway to other services.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide meaningful acitivies for older men to participate as active citizens in later life.


    » Provision of workshop sessions for groups of older men. The men refurbish tools which have been donated by the local community.

    What success will look like

    Success will be providing 4-6 sessions per week in a workshop environment where older men are reconditioning old and unused tools.

    Aim 2

    To provide tools to African countries for the purpose of business start up support.


    » We work alongside the charity 'Tools for Self Relaince' who dispatch our business start up kits to those most in need int he developing world.

    What success will look like

    Success will be the sending of 12 kits each year via Tools for Self Reliance

  • Impact


    •Improved social contact and reduced isolation and lonlieness of older men
    •Improved physical and mental health of older men
    •Increase in confidence and self esteem
    •Increase in numbers of men accessing Age UK Exeter services
    •Recycled tools that would otherwise be obsolete get redistributed to other groups in the UK and oversees
    •The donation of tools to Tools for Self Relaince enables people in Africa to get out of poverty and into work.


    The key risk to this funding is
    1. Funding: securing the 12500k per year minimum to keep the project going
    2. Premesis: We are in a rented workshop so could lose this should the owner decide to sell. We willl need to find alternative shed space if tis occurs.


    Via the Age UK Exeter Annual review and through an annual update about Men in Sheds progress. This will include a breakdown of number of men involved, tools repaired and number of kits dispatched.

    Case studies will be shared and donors will be invited to visit the proejct and meet participants.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £14,859

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £9,479 Salary inc on costs Workshop Leader to support participants and oversee work
      £4,380 Rent and Utilities workshop space
      £1,000 Admin and related osts Admin costs associated: telepehone, staff and volunteer expenses etc
  • Background


    The project takes place in a small workshop in the St Thomas area of Exeter, Devon


    The beneficiaries of our project will be older men living in Exeter who are experiencing or at risk of social exclusion and who are not currently accessing adequate support. They will be men who may have poor physical health, low confidence and self esteem, or living alone with few social contacts.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have just finished a 18 month pilot scheme. During this time we have succesfully recruited and engaged a team of men who are committed to the project and keen to develop it further. We would like to now engage more vulnerable men by setting up a buddy scheme. We have 25 years experience of working with older people and are experienced in engaging the most hard to reach individuals.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.