Horsham Men’s Shed offers a place where people can pursue their hobbies and interests in a safe, sociable setting. The Men’s Shed movement started in Australia but has proved a huge success in the UK with about 600 locations now established. Lots of people think about what they will do after retirement and a Men’s Shed gives them a place to meet like-minded people. It also helps maintain occupational skills or develop new hobbies.
The Shed, based in an old MoD building in Duke’s Square, off Denne Road in Horsham (behind the Drill Hall) was opened in 2017 with support from Horsham District Council and generous donations of tools, wood and equipment from the public. It now has fully kitted out woodworking and metal-working rooms and open space with workbenches for general projects, plus a small refurbished kitchen and loos of course! There are also free parking spaces available for members, who can join the organisation for an annual fee of £25. The Shed is a registered charity and relies on membership fees and fundraising via regular tool sales and events such as the Christmas Market to keep going. It is ably managed by Chairman Ben Pickstock and Deputy Chris Avery, plus a team of trustees who oversee its governance.
Members come from a variety of backgrounds – some may have had working lives in woodworking, aviation, electronics or engineering whilst others may have been in an office job with no practical elements. Guys support each other in learning new skills, using equipment safely and problem-solving. They work on their own projects and also get involved in community projects, working with local schools, community groups and charities: anything is considered! Most recently some of our Shedders helped with the new HDC Wellbeing Centre.
There is a strong social side to the group, with barbeques and trips out to local museums and breweries! At least there was pre-Covid, and hopefully this will resume soon. Reducing isolation and improving men’s health is a key element to the Shed activities and ethos – some guys may be carers, have health issues themselves or may be living alone, but at the Shed they can enjoy a break and make new friends. Whilst open to all, our focus is on men’s health and we tend to attract retirees as they have the time free during the week.
Currently the Shed is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 1pm and 1pm – 4pm, with pre-bookable slots. Longer term we are hoping to extend the opening hours and ideally we would like to include a Saturday morning session for people who may still be working during the week. Covid has had an obvious impact on the Shed as we have spent much of the last year closed, but we are now operating with safety measures in place and look forward to welcoming new members who are willing to get stuck in to projects. Please look us up if you are interested in joining and contact us to set up a visit. We also welcome calls about donations or ideas for community projects, plus we are looking for a volunteer secretary to join our committee.
Our volunteer administrator Cheri can be contacted via email@example.com, or on 07870 863426. Our website is: https://www.mens-shed-horsham.org.uk/ and we are on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/HorshamMeninSheds