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Essex Shed Network: the story of sheds

Man working with tools in shed

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Where it all began

Once upon a time in Australia a group of sheep farmers had an idea - thinking about all of the ‘shedless men’ living in the area, they decided to create a community space for them to potter with friends.

Roll on twenty years and over 200,000 'shedless men' have found a community space, and the idea has rolled out across the globe with sheds popping up in New Zealand, Ireland, Finland, Greece and of course the UK.

The community

The Sheds offer men a community space to share skills and learn skills, to talk and make friends, while being involved with practical activities for the benefit of the wider community.

There is no typical ‘Shedder’, with people coming along for a range of reasons.

From wanting to be useful, or to share their knowledge and wanting a sense of purpose, or just to meet new friends - all are welcome.

What new joiners don’t necessarily count on is that the Shed will help to improve health and wellbeing.

With isolation now being recognised as a key health issue affecting our communities a weekly visit to the Shed can have great benefits for both mental and physical health - keeping the body and mind active, helping to stave off loneliness alongside offering a platform for peer support and confidence building.

Essex beginnings

The first Shed in Essex opened in August 2014, in Maldon. Since then there has been interest from a number of other areas and the Essex Shed Network was formed to help support people wanting to set up a Shed.

Sheds are now open in Maldon, Rayleigh, Barnston and Little Canfield with others in development in Clacton, Cressing, Braintree, Thundersley, Stanford le Hope and Chelmsford.

To find out more visit

“I’m a lot more cheerful and happier since I found the Shed” - One of the Essex Shedders