Demystifying Social Prescribing for Men’s Sheds: A Cross-Nation Event

  • Porter, B. (Speaker)
  • Danielle Hutcheon (Speaker)
  • Aisling Mc Grath (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Demystifying Social Prescribing for UK and Ireland Men's Sheds.

During this event we aimed to demystify social prescribing for Men's Sheds, through presentations of Shedder experiences, recent research findings and a panel discussion and opportunity for Q&A.

This event brought together the cross-nation Shed network and social prescribing organisations. We hope the recording of the event will be useful to anyone with an interest or involvement in Men's Sheds (across the UK and Ireland) and to anyone working or involved in Social Prescribing.

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing, also sometimes known as community referral, is a way of helping health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services (often voluntary or community groups, including Men's Sheds). The referrals generally, but not exclusively, come from professionals working in primary care settings, for example, GPs or practice nurses.

This workshop covered:

Social Prescribing and Men's Sheds. Research findings presentation (Dr Bryony Porter, University of East Anglia).
Social prescribing in practice - the perspective of a social prescribing organisation
Men's Sheds Social Prescribing Case Studies
Panel discussion and Q&A

This event is was cross-nation collaboration organised by Dr Bryony Porter (University of East Anglia), Dr Dani Hutcheon (Glasgow Caledonian University) and Aisling McGrath (Waterford Institute of Technology) who have each worked on research projects with Men's Sheds.

Aisling McGrath - Sheds for Life Project

The Sheds for Life Project is a men’s health and wellbeing initiative delivered in the Men’s Shed setting in Ireland. The project involves a co-design process working with Shedders to identify an appropriate health promotion model that is ‘for Shedders by Shedders’ i.e. a programme that responds to the needs of men while respecting the environment of the Sheds. Sheds for Life is delivered by various partner organisations under the guidance of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association with a focus on; physical activity, healthy eating and mental health. It is delivered directly in the Sheds setting using gender-specific approaches that tailors Sheds for Life to effectively and appropriately engage with men and builds upon the camaraderie and social support already inherent in Sheds. The Sheds for Life evaluation involves applying an implementation science lens to the project to ensure its effectiveness as well as its systematic uptake across Sheds in Ireland so that every Shedder has the opportunity to participate. This work is carried out by PhD candidate Aisling McGrath (Waterford Institute of Technology) along with supervisors Prof Niamh Murphy (Centre for Health Behaviour Research - Waterford Institute of Technology) and Dr. Noel Richardson (National Centre for Men’s Health – Institute of Technology Carlow) and supported by the Irish Research Council.

Dr Danielle Hutcheon - Sheds for Sustainable Development GCU

The Sheds for Sustainable Development project was a four-year study (2017-2021) that aimed to explore the key sustainability and development challenges that Men’s Sheds may face, and the health and wellbeing impacts of Shed activity on their users. Findings showed that through participating in practical and social activities in Shed settings, positive impacts were shown on the mental health, physical health and social wellbeing of male users. Further, findings showed increased health seeking behaviours and improved health literacy of men as a result of attending a Shed. Nonetheless, due to the voluntary nature and sustainability and development challenges that Sheds faced, such as funding and premises acquisition, Sheds were unable and unwilling to take on an enhanced public health role. A key output of the project was the Men’s Shed Toolkit for the UK and Ireland that was co-produced with Men’s Sheds and Shed stakeholders. The project was led by Dr Danielle Hutcheon (nee Kelly) and Professor Artur Steiner.

Dr Bryony Porter - Sheds Project (University of East Anglia)

Bryony leads an ongoing project: Loneliness, mental health and wellbeing: an acceptability and feasibility study of UK Men’s Shed. In this project a survey was used to better understand how to measure the impact that being part of a Shed has on loneliness and mental wellbeing. Interviews helped to gain a deeper understanding of Shedder experiences and the impact of Social Prescribing on Sheds. The project involved Sheds from across the UK. Funded by UCL Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network.
Period15 Mar 2022
Event typeConference