Supporting Men's Sheds

No Man Left Behind

The Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) works exclusively in Scotland as a registered Scottish charity (SC045139)– for Scotland’s men and their communities. There are now more than 200 men’s shed groups in Scotland since the first one opened ten years ago, and it voluntarily engages over 10,000 men known as Shedders. Socialisation, communication, common purpose and kindness have been culturally transformational and life-saving in what is by far now the biggest and most successful community-based health initiative for Scotland’s men. It is deserving of our support to maintain and develop essential services especially when we note that the Scottish rates of suicide are highest among young to middle aged men in Europe. The SMSA tackles this by promoting intergenerational dialogue and comradeship by supporting the creation of new social and safe places by the men for the men.

SMSA have a grant for the current financial year, from the Scottish government, of £75,000. Despite concerted efforts over several years including attempts to engage with Ministers, the Scottish Government’s draft budget issued in January 2023 for the financial year 23-24 excluded any award of core or developmental funding to the SMSA.

With the full economic powers of Independence health inequality can be addressed more holistically than under devolution, but the success of SMSA thus far indicates that with greater financial support in the here and now many more individuals, and their families, will reap the benefits, thereby reducing human, social work, criminal justice, loneliness and isolation and especially health costs otherwise likely.

The ALBA Party is committed to the following -

Guaranteed recurring SMSA core funding to maintain strategic services.

Separate development funds for the principal purpose of set-up of individual sheds to include year one expense following which sheds become self-sufficient - administered by the SMSA.

The inclusion of SMSA within the Health budget as opposed to Community Development funding.

Provision of resources for localised Development Officers and a national Veterans Development Officer for the next three-year period.

The ALBA Party urge the Scottish Government to Acknowledge the transformational and superlative achievements of SMSA, particularly its status as Scotland’s largest community-based men’s health initiative. Also, recognise the potential of a fully funded SMSA to continue to address health inequality, poverty and Scotland’s long-standing vulnerabilities in a community based intergenerational sociable environment. ALBA encourage Holyrood to direct at least two strands of guaranteed funding comprising core and developmental finance for SMSA to address men’s health issues arising from societal factors, the impact of Brexit, the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis for the next three years.