Bring back the...Men's Shed

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. But we only want to be a small group.
  2. We don’t want to be commercial; we just want to help the men.
  3. What about Funding?
  4. What about Insurance?
  5. Do you have a Start-up manual


So What Does Lake Hume Mens Shed Do?

The purpose of Lake Hume Mens Shed is to create a fresh approach to developing men's sheds and their integration into the community, addressing such things as, creating new and sustainable men's sheds, improving retention, performance and expansion of existing men's sheds, developing strategies and attraction of new opportunities to men's sheds, and their community in a practical way.

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If a community seeks to start a men's shed, would the concept always be of the workshop kind?

Not at all, each group would need to ascertain where their interests lie within that community, i.e. art, wood, metal, drama, craft, hobbies etc. What the men’s shed does is secondary to creating an environment for addressing the bringing together of groups of men and helping to address men's health issues.


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Who are Lake Hume Mens Shed Australia Customers?

Many people have contacted us regarding this service from local governments, community groups and individuals, all wanting the same thing; how can we establish a men's shed in our community, or how can I improve the operation of our existing men's shed. A Lake Hume Mens Shed customer is the men’s shed or the group wishing to start a new men’s shed or improve the operation of an existing one.

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How Can a Men's Shed be Beneficial to a Retiree?

Retirement, retrenchment, can be a frightening period in life particularly for men who have worked hard all their life. Work has consumed much of their time over their working life and they have had little time to develop new interests and hobbies, still others do not have the financial resources to build and equip their own shed.

Of course one of the things men miss most when they retire is the companionship of their workmates, which must be replaced if they are to have a long and enjoyable retirement. Men's sheds can also assist a retiree to integrate, in a useful way, into their community, perhaps for the very first time.

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Why Do We Need a Men’s Shed in Our Community?

Men's sheds provides a unique and practical way of addressing men's health issues and it is a way of capturing existing skills in a community; a way of supporting projects that might be marginal, or outside the normal scope of other community groups, or businesses, or that lack practical skills.

Through collaboration, problem solving and decision-making, a men's shed can considerably enhance the initiation and implementation of projects, both new and old and improve the lifestyle of many men.

Access to the men's shed's Help Desk and Resource Centre provides you with an infrastructure to assist in the development a local men's shed and in completing projects in a more cost effective way. Access is gained through the Lake Hume Mens Shed web site, on receipt of a password.

Looking for "something special", something that will help you to improve the health and lifestyle of the men in your community and have more fun doing it. If you say, "yes" to any of the following, then perhaps it is worth taking the time to have a closer look at Lake Hume Mens Shed to see what they can offer you and your community.

"It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect".  Robert Louis Stevenson

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How Can The Men's Shed Concept Help Men With Mental Health?

Mental health covers a huge spectrum. Common areas within mental health are isolation, idleness, loneliness, trauma and depression. Activity is essential because it directs attention away from negative thoughts towards a more positive focus.

Men require physical and mental stimulation which is not all that easy for many men to come by.

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What Is Meant By Collaboration?

Lake Hume Mens Shed has set up a very special collaborative Help Desk and Resource Centre for men's sheds everywhere. It is way of cooperating and communicating with each other. Collaboration enables a range of management and other benefits to flow more cost effectively between the people involved with men's sheds.

Collective skills and brainpower can provide outstanding results to everyone involved:

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What Is The Cost To Get Started?

Lake Hume Mens Shed offer an Associate Membership at no cost, which allows you to understand just what it is that we do and how it can benefit you. If you are starting out this can be invaluable in helping you with think through the issues and develop interest in your community.

If you are an established men’s shed it gives you an opportunity to look at the many services available and understand just how they can benefit your men’s shed and your community.

Lake Hume Mens Shed has developed a four stage program to take a men’s shed from inception to sustainability. There are various levels of membership which will be easily recouped by the many savings in time, frustration and money and the many ideas that will be generated.

The Lake Hume Mens Shed Help Desk and Resource Centre, also provides other support, which can include funding, insurance, negotiating partnerships and personal visits to your community as necessary.

To get started simply Contact Us and we will discuss the options that are available to you and how you can benefit from Lake Hume Mens Shed. We will then advise you on the first steps to help you maximise your association with us.

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Is a Men's Shed just for older men?

Definitely not, younger men and teenagers can benefit from obtaining technical and life skills such as communication, expression, participation, socialising and patience. Involving younger men is imperative if skills are to be passed on in a community.

Younger people can also provide stimulation to older men as they tell their stories.

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Do You Need Skills To Be a Member of a Men's Shed?

No, but all men have some skills. A men's shed should be a collective of many skills. Every member will be able to contribute in some way.

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Why is a Men's Shed only for Men?

Statistically men are falling through ‘the system’ and a lot is not known about why men have the medical problems they have. So the men's shed concept is aimed squarely at men and men's health issues.

Many programs associated with men’s sheds are staffed by women. It is also interesting to observe that much of the support comes from women and families.


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Is a Men's Shed Relevant to Indigenous Communities?

Most definitely, Koori people are very artistic and they suffer the same health and social problems (if not more so) that their white counterparts. Young Koori men are at great risk of loosing their identity altogether unless action is taken to reverse it.

Koori elders are loosing this battle with their younger men. Mentoring programs are essential in their communities and the Lake Hume Mens Shed Australia programs positively address the issues.

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How Do I Measure the Value of What You Are Offering?

There are many intangible aspects associated with Lake Hume Mens Shed and with men's sheds in general. The following will give you some idea of the issues we address on a daily basis.

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But we only want to be a small group

Men’s sheds come in al shapes and sizes, as you can see on the Presentation ‘Men’s Sheds in Pictures’ (press the ‘Start’ button). It makes no difference to Lake Hume Mens Shed what size a shed is, but rather the quality of the activities that it undertakes and the services it provides to its members, is the most important issue.

The size of the shed will be determined by a range of factors such as availability the resources available and the needs of the members and the community.
Intimacy is important and this cannot be retained of the shed has too many members. As most men are not involved every day a larger membership can be maintained. The average membership ranges from 30 to 100 members.

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We don’t want to be commercial: we just want to help the men.

Our rationale for connecting men’s sheds with business principles is the fact that a men’s shed must pay its way. It cannot (unless in exceptional circumstances), expect that the government will always be there with a handout, as governments tend to suffer from ‘funding fatigue”. They don’t mind funding the ‘getting going’, but they do mind funding the ‘keep going’ for any length of time.

A men’s shed that is in any way sustainable, and not continually dependent on government handouts, will be a more substantial operation than most small businesses as it has many more issues to face.

It therefore stands to reason that if a men’s shed does not adopt and use good business principles like a well run business, it will have a limited chance of survival, not to mention having a struggle in getting to be a valuable and sustainability community asset. A men’s shed is subject to the same failure factors as a small business.

A well-run men’s shed and a well-run business have many things in common, not the least of which include good leadership and management practices, improved marketing, improved work practices, the achievement of self-funding and the achievement of its objectives.
Lake Hume Mens Shed is committed to assisting a men’s shed to implement those principles and practices that will ensure that it functions both effectively and efficiently.

The men from a men’s shed that, through clear vision and good management achieves, or approaches a level of self-funding and sustainability, will benefit from the increased self esteem (mental health) of its members by not having to worry about the tenuous balance between sustainability and donor fatigue.
It is also an aim of Lake Hume Mens Shed that good business leaders will associate with a men’s shed, will be able to make a positive contribution to others in the community and also other community organisations.

Mendicant people and communities will always fail to see value in anything you do, at any price. These are some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which arise in our discussions about Lake Hume Mens Shed Limited and Men's Sheds generally.


Where do you get funding?

If the men’s shed is not going to engage in direct commercial activities, it still needs income to support it, to cover the operating expenses. Even Not-for-Profit organisations, including men’s sheds and Lake Hume Mens Shed, need to generate an income to cover these expenses.

Funding is generally divided into two areas, capital expenditure and recurring (operating) expenses. Governments will generally assist in the funding of the capital expenditure such as buildings and equipment, providing that a good Business Case for the men’s shed is put forward. They are reluctant to fund the recurring expenses such as wages, telephone, insurance and power.

Men’s sheds and the people who are associated with them are slowly coming to the realisation that they need to become self-sustaining, by making things for sale, fulfilling local contracts, providing services or creating small businesses opportunities. However, these types of men’s sheds are still too few and far between.

A men's shed is not unlike a business in that it requires resources, buildings, plant and equipment, wages, raw materials, marketing and so on. All of these things require funding and without adequate funding the men’s shed is at risk.
Lake Hume Mens Shed Australia provides you with the necessary information and motivation to improve the overall performance of your men’s shed by assisting you to have it well funded.

When starting up, a men’s shed often faces the "Catch 22" dilemma of needing to be professionally managed at a time when there is the greatest challenge in finding the financial resources to pay the bills.

For many men’s sheds, funding issues will be a constant battle and will regularly threaten the men’s shed with closure.

It is unlikely that recurring funding for men’s sheds will become the norm in the near future with governments, that so many men’s sheds have relied on in the past. Therefore, everyone interested in starting or maintaining a men’s shed needs to consider carefully how they will proceed.

Raising the capital to fund a men’s shed can be one of the most difficult and frustrating activities to be undertaken, particularly if you have no experience. It should be a continuous process in a men’s shed particularly if it is expanding; more money for programs, stock, debtors, functions and for additional plant and equipment.

Lake Hume Mens Shed Australia has Deductible Gift Recipient status (granted by the Taxation Department) this allows funders to have a tax benefit on their contribution. This makes it easier for them to give. (Refer to the Helpdesk for assistance in accessing this).

Those who maintain their men’s sheds in a ‘Partnership Ready’ status will find in much easier and quicker to raise the necessary funds. (Refer Partnership Ready Learning Module).
Fortunately there are now many men’s sheds working up projects that can be used as sources of funds to help improve their operations and sustainability.

Sources of funding

The following is a list of some of the more common sources of funding, but keep in mind that there is no one source that will give you all you need. This is where your planning and budgeting becomes important. (Call the Helpdesk for support, members can review the Learning Module on “Funding a Men’s Shed”).

  1. Profits from sales of products and services offered
  2. Fund raising activities of the members
  3. Federal, State and Local Government grants and programs
  4. Corporate and local business partnerships
  5. Men’s health organisations
  6. Donations of money and equipment
  7. Local service clubs such as Rotary, Lions and Apex
  8. Non-government organisations, like Churches, St Vincent de Paul
  9. Family and friends who want to start a men’s shed
  10. Finance from personal sources and benefactors
  11. Philanthropic people and foundations
  12. Credit from suppliers
  13. Renting / hiring of facilities and equipment
  14. Mortgages and loans from banks and credit unions
  15. Membership Fees (Should be last resort for raising money)

Dream Men’s Shed or Financial Nightmare?

Starting a men’s shed can be both thrilling and scary at the same time. On one hand you anticipate the services that you will be able to provide for the men and people in the community. On the other hand, you worry about how you'll manage if you can’t get sufficient funding to make the men’s shed work.
You don’t want to stay awake worrying all night, so avail yourself of the Helpdesk and the many resources available to help you.

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What about Insurance?

Because of our litigious society you should not start your men’s shed without proper insurance cover, particularly Public Risk Liability.

Lake Hume Mens Shed Australia has negotiated an arrangement for Members with a major Insurance Company who will guide you through the issues.

Be warned, there are some ‘cheap’ premiums available that may not deliver in the case of a serious accident. On the other hand there have been others charging excessively.

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Do you have a Start-up Manual? Yes!

Unfortunately there is no ‘one manual fit-all’ methodology for starting a men’s shed as there are obvious differences in the size of the investment being made (some men’s sheds exceed a $1 million) and have floor spaces exceeding 1,200 square metres. Different levels of skills and experience are required for the different sizes of men’s sheds.

There are also a large variety of activities undertaken by men’s sheds and this also requires different skills and experience for different activities. Building good men’s sheds is not like making sausages, as some would believe. This is evidenced by the millions of book that have been writen about starting a small business. In the end it boils down to how you are going to be supported, a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach can be a bit like DIY Surgery, “its to hard doing it by yourself”.

The Lake Hume Mens Shed Manuals make full use of technology and new learning techniques using audio / visual and are delivered to Members over the Internet. This enables us to deliver information on starting and running a men’s shed instantly, anytime and anywhere in the world. The infrastructure allows for presentations, online training and web conferencing to be utilised by Members.

Over 60 Learning Modules covering all aspects of starting a men’s shed are available to Members. These learning Modules can be accessed through an Internet connection in the men’s shed and shown on a large screen to the members in order to impart information, and stimulate discussion.

The Learning Modules are supplemented with several thousand information and knowledge documents, tools, processes, checklists and templates and are available to members via the Helpdesk which is supported further by specialists in all subjects relating to men’s sheds.

Mendicant people and groups will always find fault and fail to see value in anything you do, at any price. These are some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which arise in our discussions about Lake Hume Mens Shed and Men's Sheds generally.

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