The Case of the Missing Shed

Why bother to travel to the south coast of England, indeed beyond the coast, and on to an island to see a shed that isn’t there – and in fact a shed that has never been there!? Well, that’s what Lynne and I were invited to do during our tour of Wessex, to take a detour to visit our church on Hayling Island.


What we found was a group of men with vision, determination, passion and perseverance. Members of Hayling Island URC, having recognised that men often find it difficult to talk through their issues, and chat freely with other men, that in retirement can easily withdraw into a solitary life. They had heard of the Men’s Shed Movement, began researching it, and so, a Men’s Shed Group was born.

Men’s Sheds began in Australia in the 1990s but soon spread to Europe and North America. There are now many in the UK, some connected with local churches. Here is what the organisation says about itself: “At the Shed we learn from each other, mainly about how to do things but also about life. We have benches and tools we never thought we would have. We reuse materials and mend the broken; we make things we are proud of and we learn from each other.  We are more active than we were and are engaged with our projects, we have more to talk about, more to contribute and more friends. We are out of the house (not under our partner’s feet) and happier when at home.”

This is the positive, supportive group of men we found – a group not made up of just church members, as the project soon attracted men who shared the vision, and were determined to get involved and see a shed built. It would take all their commitment, skills and teamwork to plan and design, consult with the church and council, as well as an amazing ability to promote their project in the community to gain the goodwill of everyone and generate vital funding (raising over £4000 so far).

Meanwhile, over the months and years, the men would meet in the church rooms, as though meeting in a shed, week by week, offering fellowship and support, developing crafts, training each other, growing in numbers (now more than 40 members), and raising their profile in the town. In the church magazine is a quotation from St. Paul and I would certainly want to use it in relation to the “Shedders” to encourage and support them in their ministry – “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6

Kevin Watson

2 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Shed

  1. Alan Ball

    We had a wonderful visit from Mr Kevin Watson and his wife who listened to us a we put on a presentation to explain about us and the Men’s shed organisation, and how we are striving to build our own shed on the spare land at the back of the church, and are awaiting the approval letter from the church for a lease so that we can have a building / Portacabin to make things and repair items within and for the Hayling Community, plus give company to Men passing on new skills to each other. I’m a woodturner and you can see some of my items in the above photograph and I can teach others how to turn wood into wonderful items When we get our permission, other members have their skills they wish to pass on. So here’s to our letter of intent arrival soon.

  2. Gerald Johnson

    Dear Mr Watson
    I am the chairman of the Hayling Island Men’s Shed. I would like to thank you for the time you spent listening to our little presentation. I know your visit was primarily concerned with the work of the the South Hayling Church so your interest and the blog you have written about us is very much appriciated. Unfortunately I was away and very disappointed not to have met you and your wife.
    We are an enthusiastic bunch (I believe you have had a reply from one of my members) who want to provide the much needed communtiy project for our local retired men. Unfortunately Havant Borough Council, who are very supportive of the Men’s Shed movement, have been unable to provide us with a location on Hayling so therefore we are very grateful to the members of the South Hayling Church who have agreed to lease their unused peice of land.
    We are hopeful that once the legalities with the Wessex Trust can be finalised, we shall be in a position to start the ground works and purchase our building in the new year.
    Thank you once again for your support and enthusiasm for what we are trying to achieve and I and my members look forward to a long and happy relationship with the members of the South Hayling URC.

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