This episode contains sensitive content and discussions about suicide.
Charlie Bethel CEO of the UK Men’s Shed Association, the organisation that champions and supports the development of safe spaces for men to connect, is on the show this week chatting to Andy. Charlie joined the association in 2018 having worked in the third sector for over 20 years. His role focuses on delivering the organisation’s goal of ‘Healthy and Happy Men’. To define what a men’s shed actually is can be quite difficult as they serve a multitude of purposes - they obviously provide a space for DIY, but also help to combat loneliness, champion good mental health, and forge connection within communities.
Charlie sums up the work that the UK Men’s Shed Association does perfectly - “adding years to life, and life to years”
02:40 - Charlie illustrates why the UK Men’s Shed Association works, by way of a broken lawnmower in a box room.
03:20 - “It’s through this distraction of making, shoulder to shoulder, that people have the conversations and talk about something that’s worrying them” - Charlie
05:30 - “...those that can do, and those that can’t talk about it - but with the sheds, are you encouraging both?” - Andy
09:50 - Charlie shares a story involving a ‘shedder’ he met a few years ago, about how the sheds can lower men’s facades and create safe spaces in which men can be honest.
17:20 - “Is this a generational thing?” - Andy
21:40 - “There are over 750 open men’s sheds in the country, and another 200 in development.” - Charlie
26:50 - Charlie speaks on The Charter for Wellbeing in Craft and DIY, and the conversation that inspired it.
30:10 - “What would help create more of these great community hubs?” - Andy
36:25 - Find out how Charlie takes his tea...
Check out the UK Men’s Shed Association, and where you can find your nearest shed.
Visit the Social Change UK website to find out more about Tea with the Changemakers.