The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was established with the purpose of supporting the development and sustainability of Men’s Sheds on the island of Ireland, advancing the health and well-being of all its members.
Recent years in Ireland have brought with them some monumental changes for Irish society; increased unemployment, rising personal debt, historic levels of emigration and reduced living standards. All of these problems individually would be daunting but together they have inflicted a heavy blow to the Irish psyche. While we all recognise that talking about these problems is important, Irish men are often reluctant to discuss their emotions and are rarely willing to ask for help. All of this can lead to a serious deterioration in health, well-being, and an individual’s sense of self-worth, leaving many men feeling isolated and alone.
Determined to find a way to support this emerging group, John Evoy travelled to Australia and experienced first-hand the transformative power of men’s community involvement through the Men’s Sheds initiative. Having made the decision to bring this idea back home, John established the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) in 2011. A Men’s Shed is considered to be any community based, non-commercial organisation that is accessible to all men. The Sheds are a place for men to socialise and interact with each other and each Shed has the common goal of advancing the health and well-being of its members. By incorporating a values system and ethos that ensures the development of inclusive and sustainable community resources, the IMSA was established to support the setup, running and maintenance of a voluntary network of Men’s Sheds around the country.
Operating on the philosophy that men don’t talk face to face but shoulder to shoulder, the IMSA currently supports over 6,000 men through the provision of safe, friendly and inclusive environments where they work together on meaningful community projects. The camaraderie and friendship that is evident in the 170 Sheds nationwide results in a strong sense of community between this group of individuals. With 91% of those participating in a Shed saying that they feel better about themselves and 74% saying that their home lives have improved as a result, there can be no doubt that the IMSA is helping to improve the lives of its members nationwide.