Mentoring at Men's Sheds: An international survey about a community approach to health and well-being

Reinie Cordier*, Nathan J. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Men's Sheds are named within the Australian and Irish National Male Health Policies as an exemplar of male health and well-being and offer a range of formal and informal mentoring to counter the known consequences of social exclusion. The study aimed to report on whether Men's Sheds undertake mentoring programmes, and if so, who is being mentored; are mentors being trained, and if so by whom; and the perceived effectiveness of the mentoring programme. Furthermore, the study aimed to explore associations between sheds with a mentoring programme and factors that reflect an inclusive and a health-focused environment. All known Men's Sheds were invited to participate in the survey; of those, 324 (42.8%) Men's Sheds in Australia and 59 (48.0%) International sheds participated in the study between April and August 2012. Overall, 39.2% (n = 127) of Australian sheds and 23.7% (n = 14) of International sheds undertook formal mentoring. Youth was the most common group being mentored in both Australia (60.6%; n = 77) and Internationally (71.4%; n = 10). Over half of Australian shed co-ordinators rated their mentoring programme as moderately effective (52.8%; n = 67) and over a third as highly effective (36.2%; n = 46), while half of International shed co-ordinators rated theirs as highly effective (50.0%; n = 7). The findings from this paper support the notion that a large number of Men's Sheds offer formal mentoring programmes targeting a range of disadvantaged sub-populations, thus supporting social inclusion. Inter-generational mentoring is the most frequently occurring type of mentoring programme. While training mentors occurs at some sheds, the efficacy of this training and programme outcomes are unknown. A typology of shed types appears to be emerging based on a divergence of sheds with a more utilitarian focus and sheds that appear to embrace a health and well-being focus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number3
Early online date6 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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