Irish Men's Sheds Association

Irish Men's Sheds Association: Men's Sheds Create!

IrelandWexford, Ireland
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Men’s Sheds in Ireland are many things;a place for men to come together in community,to spend time in, talk, laugh, and often–to create.With different generations of men together,Men’s Sheds’ projects often involve showing/learning of traditional craft skills.IMSA will nurture this aspect of Sheds.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if spaces existed in every community,where men could come together,connect and create projectskeeping local traditional craft skills alive?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

For wellbeing, social connections are vital.In Ireland,many men face social exclusion, whether through unemployment, lack of education of other factors such as disability, poverty, rural isolation.These are repeated patterns in many countries and barriers to existing health services still exist in European countries.There is a need for spaces within communities where men can come together at low or no cost, and feel part of community/society.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

IMSA advocates a model that engages men in their health and wellbeing,by building on strengths.Our aim is to ensure men have opportunities to take part in a community Men’s Shed.We do this by promoting the ‘Men’s Sheds’ model,together with empowering local communities who wish to develop Men’s Sheds.The community Men’s Shed is a version of the shed in the backyard-you might see men restoring bicycles for a local school,fixing lawn mowers,music,metalwork.You would see young and older men learning new skills from each other and learning something about life from each other.Men’s Sheds originated in Australia and achieve outcomes of positive health, happiness and well-being for those men who participate,as well as for families and communities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

With the necessary resources locally and through supports (training, small grants, resources) from IMSA, Sheds grow to be vibrant creative and positive spaces.Ardara Men’s Shed has made remarkable strides in keeping traditional skills of the local area alive.At the IMSA Conference 2014 Ardara Men's Shed won the "Best Project" award,recognising the shed’s loom and handweaving project.“At one time, almost every family in this area would have had a loom, either in a shed or a room in the house, and the sound of the loom would have been part of everyday life. The Men's Shed is an ideal way to keep these kind of skills alive and make sure they are passed on from one generation to the next.”(

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

On the island of Ireland, the men’s shed movement is vibrant, and thriving within both urban and rural communities.Of the men’s shed movement on the Island of Ireland,Dr. Barry Golding has highlighted ‘you have very good reason to be proud of what has been achieved in Ireland, and it is only very early days’.Since August 2009, the number of men’s sheds across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has grown steadily each year, from 1 to 216 men’s sheds registered with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association in 2014.This growth level of men’s sheds in Ireland has been described in research as ‘extraordinary’.To the end of 2016, IMSA will support the development of min. 400 community Men’s Sheds across the island of Ireland.The health and wellbeing impact of these Sheds will reach a minimum of 20,000 men in Ireland.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Over the next 5 to 10 years IMSA will ensure that the model of a ‘Men’s Shed’ is understood within the wider community of Europe as a whole, and that Men’s Sheds are a viable, key part of many rural and urban communities in Europe. IMSA will ensure that Men’s Sheds are recognised at national and European level as key aspects of national strategies for men’s health and well-being, with mainstreamed funding for community Men’s Sheds. IMSA will ensure that Men’s Sheds are strong, sustainable and effective in promoting men’s health and wellbeing, and are a supportive collective throughout Europe.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Men's Sheds are developed in communities, primarily with local resources (volunteers, time, buildings, materials).As a national membership organisation of Men's Sheds we require finance to maintain our ongoing supports and services to Men's Sheds. We implement of our IMSA Funding Strategy, which involves several key strands (including grants,fundraising,donors) so that we are not reliant on any one source for income generation.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No other NGO focuses on the growth of Men’s Sheds on the Island of Ireland as a whole.Several bodies in Ireland work to improve men’s health;Dept. of Health and Children,Men’s Health Forum, Men’s Development Network.Local community groups are working to improve life for men,such as Family Resource Centres and Local Development Companies.It is vital that we don’t duplicate work of government services/funded NGO’s.IMSA is unique as we provide a model,and tools,that communities can use themselves to respond to social exclusion facing men. We believe that this is real sustainability in practice.

Founding Story

I had been working in community development for a long time, and was conscious that while it was easy to engage women in local health and wellbeing iniatives, the men were missing! Along with colleagues we found a successful model for engaging men in the community; the Men’s Shed movement in Australia.This led to a study visit of Victoria in 2009.I remember going into Sheds over there and there was such energy in them. It didn’t matter if it was a Shed that cost thousands to build or one that was just a few pieces of timber thrown together.I thought to myself, this has to happen everywhere!My Aha moment was there in Australia in the 'home' of Men's Sheds. Spending time in Sheds, I realised-Men's Sheds will change the world!


At the moment, IMSA has a team of; 1 CEO (Full-Time), MA in Equality Studies and BA in Counselling and Psychotherapy. John (CEO) has over 15 years experience in the voluntary sector, mainly development work with men facing disadvantage. 1 Administrator (Full-Time) Shed Advocates - 15 volunteers experienced in Shed development and community development A qualified and experienced voluntary Board of Managment of 17 (Directors)
About You
Irish Men's Sheds Association
About You
About Your Project
Organization Name

Irish Men's Sheds Association

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, WX, Wexford

Country where this project is creating social impact
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, NGOs, National government, Other.

Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

IMSA Patron is President of Ireland Michael D.Higgins

IMSA is a recipient of;

Social Entrepeneurs Ireland Impact Award 2013

Finalist in the Changemakers Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders Competition 2012

Arthur Guinness Award 2011

Where have you learnt about the competition?

Through and by general information email from Ashoka.

Tell us about your partnerships:

Communities in Ireland are our most important partners.Since 2010,we have supported the growth of 200 Men’s Sheds, and are working together with these Sheds,to ensure the further growth and sustainability of Men’s Sheds.Our funders and also local community service providers are key partners.Local partners include those working from a community development approach as this is in line with the sustainable ethos of Men's Sheds in Ireland.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Financial resources are a barrier which might hinder the success of planned activities of IMSA.We source and complete funding applications and generate income by other strands;corporate and fundraising.This has been successful to date.We plan to gain secure further funding from Irish national government or EU health programmes.We monitor our applications and build on the positive aspects of these.We are part of an international research project into the outcomes of Men’s Sheds which will generate leverage for evidence-based applications in the areas of men’s health and wellbeing.