Men's Shed - Charlie Bethel
Man Up / Man DownJune 15, 2023x
43:3139.86 MB

Men's Shed - Charlie Bethel

Charlie Bethel is Chief Officer of the UK Men's Sheds Association, an organisation that supports community spaces across the UK for men to 'Do Stuff'. What does ‘Do Stuff’ mean?

Woodwork, metal work, electronics... basically making, fixing, upcycling. What does this achieve?

  • 96% reduction in loneliness

  • 75% reduction in anxiety

  • 89% reduction in depression


With over 1,000 “Sheds” in the UK, the movement helps challenge loneliness for men and women across the UK. 

Although many of the meeting spaces aren’t actually sheds - with venues varying from disused morgues, to chicken farms to abandoned industrial sites. So what is the theory behind the sheds? 

As Charlie explains - if you put six men in a room and ask them to talk, nothing really happens. However if you put a broken lawnmower in the middle of the room and some tools, it’s not long before the conversation is free flowing and reserved men are discussing health, bereavement or any other issues they have been bottling up. 

As we have seen across our episodes, these sheds help create purpose in someone’s life, who due to retirement or bereavement have lost their zest for life. People fix furniture, do wood work, metal working or build bird boxes. Some just come along for a cup of tea and a chat.

The difference between women and men is that women seem to be able to socialise a lot better than men. Whilst David is generalising here, the sheds provide men a reason to socialise. According to stats from the US, 15% of men don’t have any friends. And besides sports, the pub is the other most likely other place you find men.

Both David and Volker were shocked to discover that while, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 46, there is also another peak of suicide among men aged around 70. The idea itself came from Australia but has now spread to Canada, the UK, Denmark and Japan. Although Charlie says he is only involved in the UK branch.

The vast majority of sheds also integrate women and some are mixed as well. The challenge is that sometimes the dynamic can change but for most shed’s it’s working fine. It also helps ex offenders to integrate better into society; there are also sheds in prisons and hospices, to get people together and talk before they go, allowing for connections and making a positive impact in society.

If you are interested in opening a shed, you don’t need a property but the organisation can help you to set it all up. Find out more here:

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.