Start a men’s shed
A quick reference guide to establishing a new men’s shed in your community
Each shed is independent and will develop its own personality but the steps you need to build a new shed are similar. Below you’ll find a dot point plan to building a thriving sustainable shed in your community.
Contact Men’s Sheds of WA
Visit your neighbouring sheds
Once you’ve spoken with Men’s Sheds of WA, the best thing to do is visit your nearest men’s sheds to see the variety of ways in which sheds can be successful. Find your nearest men’s sheds on the Men’s Sheds of WA ‘Find a Shed’ page on the website.
Gauge community interest in a men’s shed in your area
Before proceeding too far, investigate the level of interest in a shed in your area. The best way to do this is to hold a public meeting to discuss your vision and the needs and interest of the community.
There are many ways to advertise your public meeting, including:
The most successful meetings have been convened by City or Local Government Councils, working in partnership with a community service clubs such as Rotary or Lions. Councils have provided a venue, finance advertising and pamphlets and the clubs have run the meeting.
Representative from our office attends generally to present information on different Sheds in WA and how they work and to answer any questions from the floor.
Desirable outcomes of a public meeting
Ideally at the end of the meeting you will have a:
Form a steering group
While starting a men’s shed is simple, it can be a long and challenging process. So, it is important to identify likeminded people who can assist you by forming a steering committee. Ideally people with skills and relationships that can assist you in reaching the goal of having a fully developed shed.
Decide on a governance model
There are two main ways to set up a men’s sheds’ governance structure. Both models have advantages and disadvantages.
Connecting with the community
Eventually it will be time to reach out to the community and seek members. Having members is necessary to show community interest to funders and other stakeholders. The best way to engage the community is to have a public event to discuss the path forward and to seek membership and support. From there, community events will raise the sheds profile.
Once there is a stable steering committee and some community interest, it is time to register your group with all of the relevant authorities. Examples of things to register are as follows.
Most Men’s Sheds have the legal status of an incorporated association. Details on how to apply are available on the Department of Commerce website.
You can access a template constitution for a Men’s Shed that meets the requirements of the WA Department of Commerce, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission and the Australian Taxation Office, on our Documents for Sheds web page.
Seek a premises
Perhaps the most difficult part of starting a shed is finding a premises. While a men’s shed is not the four walls it resides in, but the members themselves, most sheds need a space to meet and do activities. There are several options when finding a premises:
All sheds require money for operating expenses and to develop facilities. While membership fees and fundraising is the bread and butter of community not for profits, the majority of funding for most men’s sheds comes from grants. To acquire most grants your shed will need to be fully registered and have significant membership.
Your local council – A great place to start when seeking assistance setting up a men’s shed is your local council. They will often be able to provide assistance in one form or another. They will likely have other contacts and avenues that you may not be aware of. To find contact details for your council. Visit the WALGA (WA Local Government Association) website.
Lotterywest grants – Lotterywest work with community organisations that are providing services, support and inspiration to people throughout WA. Their grants team is happy to share their experience and can offer a sounding board, additional contacts, as well as ideas and advice.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs grants – DVA may provide assistance to a shed that has some members of the veteran community. This includes family members of veterans plus veterans from allied countries.
Royalties for Regions – Country sheds could seek funding from Royalties for Regions
Australian Men’s Shed Association – The Australian Men’s Shed Association operates a grant program with funds from the federal Department of Health.
Service clubs – Service clubs will often adopt a shed as a project in order to get it established.
We maintain a list of ongoing open grant programs you may wish to look into.
Fit out the shed
Fitting out the shed will be a different process for each shed as the requirements differ between them. Generally, sheds will be able to get started with donated equipment from members and other men’s sheds but you will eventually be able to buy new through grants and fundraising.
Generating policies for good governance, health, and safety
Most policies that a Men’s Shed require have all been generated so there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Contact Men’s Sheds of WA or neighbouring sheds for relevant templates.