What is AMSA?
The Australian Men’s Shed Association is the national service provider to more than 1000 Men’s Sheds in Australia – providing practical support, specialised services and resources.
At the 2nd National Men’s Shed Conference in Manly, September 2007, Professor Barry Golding, a Men’s Shed researcher from Federation University Ballarat, stated in his key note address that “Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder”. This drew unanimous mutterings of approval from all 350 delegates and the quote became the Australian Men’s Shed Association motto.
The concept of AMSA was tabled in 2005 and was formally established in 2007 with the founding principle of freely sharing information between organisations and members for the development and effective operations of Men’s Sheds. The Association was originally auspiced by CatholicCare Newcastle and has been strongly supported collaboratively by Uniting Care North Sydney, beyondblue and Mensline. Through the ever increasing number of emerging Men’s Sheds, the Australian Men’s Shed Association developed into the peak body representing and supporting Men’s Sheds in Australia, a model which is now replicated internationally.
With the launch of the Federal Government’s National Male Health Policy in May 2010, the contribution of AMSA and Men’s Sheds was formally recognised with the allocation of ‘$3 million for the Australian Men’s Sheds Association to provide practical support to sheds, especially those in areas of high need. Men’s sheds play an important role in the community by providing meeting places where men can find social support and camaraderie’.
In July 2010 the Association made the transition from an incorporated body to a National Association-a Company Limited by Guarantee registered as a Tax Deductible Gift Recipient.
The Australian Men’s Sheds Association recognises a Men’s Shed as any community-based, non-profit, non-commercial organisation that is accessible to all men and whose primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and healing environment where men are able to work on meaningful projects at their own pace in their own time in the company of other men. A major objective is to advance the well-being and health of their male members and to encourage social inclusion.
- prioritises the wellbeing of all men valuing the role that Men’s Sheds play in the prevention of social isolation by providing a safe, friendly and welcoming place for men to work on meaningful projects and to contribute to the wider community.
- will endeavor to always address the needs of Men’s Sheds and to source further funding and resources for the direct benefit of sheds.
Men’s Sheds registered with the Australian Men’s Shed Association are to maintain an open door policy and conduct themselves in a non-discriminating manner, have a minimal membership or joining fee, ensure and observe safe work practices, aim at improving the well-being or all men and support their community.
As part of the Australian Men’s Shed Association’s Funding Agreement, the Association is committed to providing practical support for existing sheds, provide assistance in the development of new sheds, attracting and securing corporate sponsorship, raising awareness of men’s sheds, encouraging engagement and participation, improving the health and wellbeing of all men.
“Men’s Sheds are not just fixing furniture and building toys, they are helping men and building communities.”
The national service provider now has over 1050 Men’s Sheds, representing an estimated 150,000 individuals and employs nine staff.
The Men’s Shed concept was an Australian initiative from very humble beginnings; the idea has now spread internationally with Men’s Shed Associations operated by health authorities and other entities in Ireland, UK, New Zealand, Canada, US, Kenya, and South Africa.
At the 4th National AMSA Conference in Brisbane 2011, a meeting of representatives from New Zealand, Ireland, UK and Australian Men’s Shed Associations took place. This lead to the creation of an international affiliation of Men’s Shed Associations, with AMSA taking the lead role in developing this Federation. It is aimed at sharing knowledge, developing Men’s Sheds in other nations and making representations to the World Health Authority on the benefits of Social Inclusion in relation to health. Click here to read more about the International Mens Shed Organization.