An online men’s shed has been launched to maintain social connection during a period where people are being encouraged to stay at home.
With Covid-19 forcing men’s sheds across the country to close, the Australian Men’s Sheds Association (AMSA) has launched the AMSA Shed Online.
AMSA executive officer David Helmers said the aim is to facilitate a space where people connect in the same way they do at the shed, over a cuppa and a laugh.
“Men’s sheds are an effective initiative because they connect people who would otherwise be socially isolated on a daily basis,” he said.
“Australians are becoming more and more physically isolated amidst the current coronavirus emergency. Right now we need to find ways to maintain our social connections,” he said.
According to AMSA, when it comes to older Australians, the influence of social connectedness, or lack thereof, on mortality is comparable to well-known risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Governor-General David Hurley said “staying in touch and connected has never been more important.”
“The shed’s themselves may be temporarily closed as part of the response to Covid-19 but the mission of helping people stay connected does not change,” he said.
The original online shed platform The Shed Online was developed as a collaboration between AMSA and Beyond Blue in 2012. The platform attracted huge participation but was closed down due to lack of funding.
“We have used the original online shed platform as an inspiration to create a simple online space for Australian men to stay connected – as they would in a shed – at a time when community connection is increasingly difficult, but still vitally important to our health and wellbeing,” Mr Helmers said.
The program is being launched globally in partnership with the Irish Men’s Shed Association and the International Mens Shed Organisation.
“We hope to create a global social community where men can talk and share their experiences,” Mr Helmers said.
“There are men’s sheds operating in 12 countires now and we anticipate a global information exchange.”
AMSA is encouraging anyone with an interest to participate in conversations and make meaningful connections on the new platform.
“Whilst The AMSA Shed Online has been built with the men’s shed community in mind, we invite anyone with an interest to join the conversation,” said Mr Helmers.
For more information or to get involved, visit mensshed.org/theshedonline.